Belfast Telegraph

Former Glentoran winger Chris Lavery eyes upset with Portadown at his old stomping ground

 

Chris Lavery
Chris Lavery

By Stuart McKinley

Former Glentoran man Chris Lavery will return to The Oval tomorrow with the aim of providing a shock for his old club.

Lavery has taken out his frustration on Championship defences since returning to the Portadown line-up after a three-month spell on the injured list, with a goal and a crucial assist in his last two games.

Now the Glens are in his firing line as the Premiership's form team come up against the team that has been leading the way in the Championship for the last two months, and talented winger Lavery is confident the Ports can show that they aren't a league apart.

"Glentoran have played well this season and have brought in good players, but on our day we believe we can beat anyone and Glentoran are no exception to that," said 28-year-old Lavery.

"We've been on some good winning runs this season and a lot of that comes down to gaining confidence from winning games.

"If you go into a game confident then you feel like you're going to win before you go out.

"There is no pressure on us. Glentoran are the big dogs, they are expected to beat us, so there is no pressure on us.

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"They've been doing well for the last couple of months, but if we get a chance to cause an upset, hopefully we can."

Luck has deserted Lavery somewhat in the Irish Cup in recent seasons.

He was in the Lurgan Celtic team at the start of the amazing run that took them to the semi-finals in 2016 - they beat the Ports in the last eight - but he had signed for Glentoran in January before the senior teams entered the competition and didn't get to experience that run.

A year later he suffered a fifth round defeat at the hands of Linfield in his one full season at The Oval.

Lavery admits that the Ports will also have an eye on the future when they head to east Belfast.

Many of Matthew Tipton's young squad will be experiencing facing one of the country's big guns for the first time, while holding ambitions that they will be mixing it with the likes of the Glens on a regular basis next season in the top flight.

"Promotion is our main objective, but if we can get a run in the Irish Cup and maybe beat a couple of Premiership teams then the confidence can stand by us going forward," said Lavery.

"It's going to be a good day out for everyone.

"Even though I played there myself and I know what it is going to be like it will be a good experience for us and the young players in particular.

"We will be ready for it and we'll give it everything.

"We want to be in the Premiership next year, Glentoran are a Premiership team, playing at The Oval, and it will be a taster of hopefully what it'll be like next season - it's what we want."

The fifth round clash at The Oval is a repeat of the 2015 final which the Glens edged 1-0.

David Scullion scored the only goal but the Ports were left fuming when Michael Gault had been brought down but defender William Garrett escaped a sending off.

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