RONNIE McFall is hoping the pending departure of Matthew Tipton to Linfield will not signal a collapse of his young squad.
Tipton met with Linfield on Tuesday night to discuss a possible switch to Windsor Park from Portadown.
The Ports boss must now focus on replacing this season’s leading goalscorer - as well as securing the six other players coming out of contract to fresh deals.
“I got a phone call from Matthew this morning and he explained he had met with Linfield last night and signed a two-year deal,” said McFall. “The bottom line is we cannot compete with Linfield in that situation.
“However, from my viewpoint, he is a good lad and we wish him all the best in the future.
“There is no ill-feeling on my part and certainly it is a good signing by Linfield.
“We always maintained we would wait until the end of the season to start working on player negotiations and that is the case.
“We want to keep this young squad together and my goal is to add to it.
“Discussions have been held and will continue as we target the players we want to keep at this club.”
The striker’s final contribution to the Portadown cause was a match-winning hat-trick on Saturday to secure the club’s Europa League position.