Hamilton expects stern test from Loughgall in Mid-Ulster Cup final

Hamilton expects stern test from Loughgall in Mid-Ulster Cup final

Calum Birney celebrates with Josh Doyle (right) whose hat-trick saw Glenavon through to the final. Picture: Maynard Collins.

Michael Scott

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Michael Scott

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info@yourlurgan.com

Gary Hamilton will use Saturday's Mid-Ulster Cup final as an opportunity to give his fringe players vital game time ahead of a vital final couple of weeks of the season.

With their final two games of the league coming up next week, potentially followed by the European play-offs, the Glenavon manager wants to ensure that everyone in his squad is fighting fit.

“[The Mid-Ulster Cup] is a competition I use to blood a lot of the younger lads but because of the situation with COVID but this year we've used it to give the more experienced players some game time,” he told Glenavon Media.

“You have the situation with the Dubliners and then you have guys like Calum Birney and Lee McNulty who have been injured, Robbie Norton got injured in pre-season as did Conan [Byrne].

“It's unfortunate for our younger players but we have a lot of big games coming up so we need our experienced players to be as match-fit as they can be.”

As well as getting a game in the 3-0 win on Wednesday evening against a youthful Warrenpoint Town side, played at Planters Park, some of those fringe players were able to get a run-out in a friendly recently against Annagh United.

Loughgall, whose Irish Cup heroics against Warrenpoint saw them reach the quarter-finals where they eventually went out to Linfield, will provide the opposition.

As reigning holders of the cup, they will be keen to defend their trophy – and Hamilton is expecting a stern test.

“We've got a big game now on Saturday against Loughgall who will be as strong, if not stronger, than Annagh,” he added.

“It will be good for me to get a look at the guys in that standard of a game and see what they're made of.”

Saturday's game will kick off at 3pm and will be behind closed doors, however the game will be streamed live and for free on Glenavon's Facebook page.

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