AARON Burns (pictured) enjoyed a positive second-half cameo on Saturday as Portadown marched into the sixth round of the Irish Cup at the expense of Dungannon Swifts.
Burns joined his brother, Andrew, on the Portadown books last week after signing a short-term amateur contract to stay at Shamrock Park until the end of the season.
The former Linfield midfielder has been training with the Ports over the past few months as a free agent and hopes to use the remainder of the season to raise his profile.
“I am still keen on getting across the water in the summer so this move is about getting my short-term fitness up and showing what I can do,” he said. “However, it is also about rewarding Portadown for giving me this opportunity so, hopefully, we can all benefit.
“I felt a bit tired towards the end of the match but 40 minutes or so can only help.
“I have not really played much first-team football over the past few months.
“However, obviously with Andrew at the club I already know some of the lads, especially Ross Redman.
“Also training and taking part in friendly games since December or so has helped me adjust and I was able to come on and feel pretty comfortable alongside my team-mates.”
Ronnie McFall, the Ports boss, feels the arrangement can benefit both club and player.
“He can play wide or in the middle of the park,” said the Ports boss. “Aaron is a lad with a lot of potential who may not have played much competitive football of late but remains naturally fit.
“He has agreed a deal until the end of the season and midfield is certainly a position in which we have been short.
“Neil McCafferty and Keith O’Hara both have groin injuries which require rest and close attention, Matthew Paget is still working back from a long-term problem and Tim Mouncey had recently returned but suffered a bad knock in the Donegal Celtic match.
“We also lost Shane McCabe and Richard Clarke from midfield for non-football issues in the past year.
“It is great to see Richard back from illness and on the pitch in his role as player/manager with the reserves but he obviously remains a long way short of full match fitness.
“However, any minutes now will help both him and the club, plus provide the young squad at that level with excellent on-the-pitch experience.
“In terms of signings, we are still looking to add to the squad but it is always a question of availability.”
Burns has now joined his brother, Andrew, on the Portadown books following training sessions and friendly appearances in recent months since the end of his previous contract at Linfield.
Burns’ arrival on amateur terms has helped Portadown avoid the additional financial burden of a development fee to Linfield.
“Aaron recently returned from Everton and remains keen on a move across the water,” said McFall. “This deal will hopefully help us and give the player a platform.
“He knows he needs to perform to get back into the shop window and we can provide that opportunity for games.”