Arkins’ focus on short-term points plus long-term plans

Vinny Arkins. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Vinny Arkins. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

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Vinny Arkins’ position as a Portadown legend was secured thanks to a return far beyond the goals and glory.

The club’s all-time leading scorer spent almost a decade leading the line for the Shamrock Park outfit.

That Portadown career of league and cup trophy triumphs also called on Arkins to play a key role in rescuing the club from relegation - now the former captain is aiming to transfer that golden touch from the pitch to the dug-out.

Arkins, who arrived last season as assistant to Pat McGibbon, moved up into the position of interim manager on Friday night in the aftermath of the latter’s resignation. Club officials confirmed this week that Arkins - who does not hold the required coaching badges to take the role of manager on a permanent basis - would be placed in temporary charge, with a 60-day window open to make a long-term appointment.

“There is so much turmoil but my focus is on the next three games against Ballinamallard United, Ards and Glentoran,” said Arkins, who will have coach Trevor Williamson and captain Keith O’Hara offering support. “We had a good training session and chat with the players on Tuesday.

“You look at the next few games as make-or-break time but I am happy to help the club in whatever way I can.

“It is also important for everyone to be realistic about the situation, from the directors to the fans.

“I am concentrating on the task-at-hand and have midweek friendly games arranged with Newry City AFC and Annagh United over the next fortnight to look at our young players.

“Thinking on a long-term basis about the future of the club, the directors need to have a plan in place.

“Stronger links are needed between the youth section and senior section and plans must be set down with a view to the January transfer window period.

“We can take positives from the past two performances but it is about turning those small periods into a big display.”

Kick-off tomorrow (Saturday) will be 3 o’clock.

Supporters’ club bus times - OFFICIAL TRAVEL CLUB: JD Tipler’s at 1 o’clock and Shamrock Park at 1.15. EDEN REDS: Gary’s Bar at 1 o’clock. RICHHILL REDS: The village square at 12.45. SHAMROCK REDS: West Street at 1 o’clock and Shamrock Park at 1.15.