PORTADOWN manager, Ronnie McFall, refused to criticise his makeshift panel in the aftermath of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Glentoran.
A second-half goal handed the Glens a welcome win and left Portadown nursing defeat from the only home fixture of the five-game post-split schedule.
Portadown entered the match in the knowledge that victory would present goal difference as the only potential obstacle to European football, with runners-up spot in the Carling Premiership the ultimate target before the end of the season.
However, a double-figure tally of unavailable players placed Portadown on the backfoot and the loss of Sean Mackle to hamstring problems with just 15 minutes on the clock served to increase the severity of the situation.
“Put simply, after two tough games last week inside a few days against Linfield and Crusaders, we were basically running on empty,” said the Ports boss. “I cannot criticise the players for effort or commitment and we can only aim to hang on in over the final games.
“We had a few half-chances but it was a poor game overall, with both teams flat.
“We have a long list of players out injured and also lost Sea Mackle early on in the Glentoran game.
“To be honest, I do not expect any to really become available for our next match away to Coleraine.
“Going into the game we had Keith O’Hara only half-fit for action.
“Neil McCafferty, Richard Clarke and Matthew Tipton have played a lot of football without a rest, as have players like Brian Gartland and Garry Breen.
“We have not had the opportunity to allow the lads to recharge the batteries.
“Sean was suffering from hamstring problems earlier in the season and came off today with trouble in the other leg.
“Richard Lecky limped off after going over on the ankle he had reconstructive surgery on.
“The lack of options restricts the ability to change a game or liven play up by introducing one experienced player for another, however, we can only regroup and give the final fixtures a big push.”