SYED Ali’s return to Portadown failed to spark a winning performance from the depleted town side this week against Saintfield.
However, Andrew Hammond – the Portadown captain – considers Ali’s decision, plus the impending arrival of other players, as cause for optimism.
“It was a pretty heavy defeat in the end but the most frustrating aspect was the long list of players unavailable for the match in the first place,” said Hammond. “Over the course of play on Monday and Tuesday we had guys unavailable due to various work and personal commitments.
“Plus the seconds’ game with Waringstown was held across Tuesday and Wednesday so that did not help matters.
“Therefore, although disappointed with the result, we were probably realistic about our chances going into the match and can still take positives from the game.
“It was great to see Syed back with the club following his recent switch to Laurelvale.
“We were disappointed to lose him in the first place but delighted with his decision to come back.
“He managed to get some playing time under his belt again for Portadown and over the next few weeks I expect to see a few more guys step forward following the end of exams.
“It is also interesting that a few players have been in touch with the club after checking out our revamped website.
“We have only really lost one player and managed to actually add four or five across the books so cannot complain too much about our strength-in-depth.
“However, at this stage of the season we still cannot call on a full panel and, under those conditions, results such as Saintfield can happen at times.
“We still remain confident of our chances over the course of the league campaign and should get a few breaks in our favour as players return.
“We should start to see guys come back this weekend for the Junior Cup tie with Dunmurry in Lurgan Park so that is another boost.
“The seconds meet Donaghadee in a league match.”