Glenavon player/coach Kris Lindsay is hoping another dream Irish Cup run can sprinkle some second-half magic on the club’s league campaign.
Cup glory across the 2014 and 2016 seasons provided Lindsay and the Lurgan Blues with moments to savour - and the platform for progress which puts Glenavon in a position as one of the current season’s leading sides.
Yesterday’s Irish Cup draw offered Lindsay both an opportunity to reflect on past prizes and, significantly, focus on future forward steps across multiple fronts.
Glenavon visit Carrick Rangers in a fifth-round Irish Cup tie on January 6 and Lindsay views the long-term benefits generated by those two previous magic May afternoons as helping lay the foundations for a current rise up the league rankings.
“You need that slice of fortune with injuries and suspensions but we will give it a blast,” said Lindsay. “We are going well in the league but with a small squad so to maintain that over two fronts is going to take that bit of luck.
“A run in the cup can give you a lift across the final stages of the season, not only as you progress across the rounds but to take into league games.
“Anyone in football will tell you the Irish Cup final is the best occasion.
“Over recent years we have done really well and the Irish Cup success has been the catalyst for the progress Gary Hamilton has made as Glenavon manager.
“Since Gary has come in as Glenavon manager we have won it twice and lost in last year’s semi-final.
“We won it first to get that financial boost and then again, along with the European qualification, so we know it can give clubs that lift to go on and bolster squads.
“You can use those benefits to help in the league.
“It is a great, great competition and to continue that recent tradition by reaching another semi-final or even final would be excellent.”
Carrick Rangers manager David McAlinden is keen to hit January’s cup commitments with the positive of additional league points in the battle to move beyond the relegation zone.
“My initial reaction with a home draw was good and then, about three seconds later, Glenavon are pulled out,” he said. “So it’s going to be a tough game but all you can hope for is a home tie really and we’ve got that.
“We have plenty of league games to focus on before the cup game comes around and we have a really important run of four or five games coming up and then we can turn around and concentrate on the tie.
“So, hopefully, we can pick up a bit of momentum coming into that.
“All we’re looking for is a swing in momentum, whether that comes in the cup or the league.
“We’re hoping we’re in a happier situation come the cup game and after picking up a few points in the league fixtures.”