IRISH LEAGUE: Portadown out to build on derby boost against Newry

Portadown manager Niall Currie.
Portadown manager Niall Currie.

Portadown manager Niall Currie is demanding derby delight leads to long-term league progress.

Last weekend’s emphatic 3-0 success over Loughgall marked a return to winning ways in the Bluefin Sport Championship following four consecutive league defeats.

Now the Ports welcome Newry City AFC to town tonight (Friday) for another derby test - with Currie aiming to use the Loughgall positives as a platform for future form.

The Loughgall match arrived following a welcome break, which Currie felt was also key to preparations.

“The Loughgall result is a building block, a foundation to kick on from now,” said Currie, who also guided the Ports to a Mid-Ulster Cup quarter-final win over Loughgall on Tuesday. “Hard work sets us up and we’ve not done that as much in previous games.

“We were compact and solid to chase down lost causes and we smothered Loughgall.

“We had that break between games and worked the players really hard in training, with it coming maybe at the right time without the pressure of consistent games.

“Hopefully, it gives the guys confidence now to play in front of a big crowd.

“All I want is hard work but we had players coming off the pitch having put in their best performances of the season.

“Even on a bad day, if we work hard with a good shape that gives you the foundation.

“We’ve conceded poor goals all season but I was very proud of all the players on Saturday.

“It’s a big week, with the main focus now on Friday night.”

Kick-off at Shamrock Park against Newry will be 7.45 - with the Portadown Supporters’ Society organising a second Oktoberfest beer tent and music following a season’s record-breaking home attendance for the Loughgall league match.