McGibbon keeping faith in Ports panel

Portadown manager Pat McGibbon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown manager Pat McGibbon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown will set aside league frustrations in search of knockout progress tonight (Tuesday) when Donegal Celtic visit Shamrock Park.

The Ports play host to Premier Intermediate-based Celtic aiming to turn the tables on a run of three successive Danske Bank Premiership defeats.

Off-the-field issues continue to place Portadown under the spotlight and a 12-point deduction imposed by the Irish Football Association has added to the problems for manager Pat McGibbon.

“It is a game of small margins but we have a squad still learning about each other,” said McGibbon. “The cup offers another opportunity to grow together in a competitive match.

“It is a learning curve but we will utilise the squad and increase the playing time across the group.

“Despite league results, if we continue to show the levels of commitment on offer then we will turn it around.”

The Ports’ Mid-Ulster derby rivals, Glenavon, face a knockout test at home to Tobermore United.

“To be honest, we have let down the club and fans in recent seasons across cup ties,” said Glenavon assistant manager Paul Millar. “Therefore, it has been drummed into the players the need to perform and we must approach the Tobermore tie with the right attitude and commitment.

“We managed to get back to our high-tempo play and energy levels against Ards in the league so want to build on that momentum.”

The full NIFL League Cup second-round draw (kick-offs 7.45 unless otherwise stated): Knockbreda v Lurgan Celtic (6.30), Annagh United v Glentoran, Ards v Newry City, Armagh City v Dergview, Ballinamallard United v Dundela, Ballyclare Comrades v Carrick Rangers, Ballymena United v Newington YC, Cliftonville v Lisburn Distillery, Coleraine v Limavady United, Crusaders v Loughgall, Dungannon Swifts v S&L Swifts, Glenavon v Tobermore United, Institute v HW Welders, Linfield v Larne, Portadown v Donegal Celtic, Warrenpoint Town v Banbridge Town.