Belfast Telegraph

I would have no issues with putting myself on spot for Glenavon again, says Daniels


Hard luck: Josh Daniels says his penalty miss was a shock
Hard luck: Josh Daniels says his penalty miss was a shock

By Alex Mills and Stephen Alexander

Wing wizard Josh Daniels insists he'll still be a spot-kick volunteer even though he fluffed his lines in the dying seconds of last week's Danske Bank Premiership clash at Crusaders.

The 23-year-old's poorly-hit penalty was beaten away by the legs of Sean O'Neill, which guaranteed the Belfast team three points in a 3-2 win they hardly deserved.

Andrew Mitchell had rammed home a spot-kick earlier in the game for the Lurgan Blues, but when the second one arrived in injury-time, the striker was suffering from a calf problem.

Daniels stepped up to take on the responsibility, but without success.

"Rhys Marshall handed me the ball and told me to hit it," said Daniels. "I told him I didn't mind if he wanted it. I didn't want to shy away from it. I took a chance and went down the middle because I thought he (O'Neill) was going to dive to the side. The ball hit his legs.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew the contact wasn't good enough. I was gutted. I didn't even leave the house that night.

"To be honest, I haven't hit many penalties in senior football. I don't think I missed one in youth football, so it was a bit of a shock."

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Daniels reckons it's time Gary Hamilton's boys climbed away from the basement zone, starting with today's tough game against Ballymena United at Mourneview Park.

"It's a bit uncharacteristic of us lingering in the bottom three," he added.

"We started well, but have hit a little blip. We travelled to play Formartine in the Scottish Challenge Cup and I thought we played really well over there.

"We also performed well against the Crues, so there are positives there. It's now Ballymena United, so hopefully we can put things right.

"This time last season we were undefeated and on top of the league before Christmas. Then we hit a bad patch, which was probably a worse run than we are in at the minute.

"Every time we play them, it's a feisty encounter. We beat them the first time we met last season, but they won twice after that.

"They are the only top-six team that took more points off us last season. They have the bragging rights over us, so that will certainly play on our minds."

And David Jeffrey is in no doubt that Glenavon will rekindle their form after a difficult start to the season.

"We know how good Glenavon are and we know, having watched them in preparation for this game, how unbelievably good they were against Crusaders," said Jeffrey.

"The reports coming back were mightily, mightily impressive and with the greatest of respect, they should definitely have got something out of the game - if not a draw then possibly more.

"That will spur them on again against us and we know how tough it will be - every single game is a battle this year.

"Glenavon know what they will get from Ballymena and equally we know what we will get from Glenavon. It's always a cracking game of football and no quarter will be asked or given.

"I have massive respect for Gary Hamilton - I don't think there's anyone in the league who wouldn't be aware of that fact - but if we are to get anything, we'll have to be at our very best."

Midfielder Tony Kane is a doubt after sustaining knee and groin injuries against Rangers Colts but Jeffrey is boosted by the return of defender Jonny Addis, who has completed a three-match domestic suspension.

Another defender, Andrew Burns, has yet to complete a three-game ban and he is joined in the sinbin by midfielder Ryan Harpur, who misses the trip to Mourneview Park after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend.


Ballymena Utd

Danske Bank Premiership:

Mourneview Park, Today, 3.00 pm

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