Portadown manager Pat McGibbon has praised his players for bringing back the beautiful game – but now wants the squad to show the ugly side of football.
Pre-season progress with his revamped panel led to plaudits from the terraces for a gameplan with the focus on high-tempo passing play.
However, back-to-back defeats have led to McGibbon calling for a back-to-basics approach that demands Portadown show the steel before allowing the silk to shine.
“We know we have players who can pass the ball and that is obviously the style of football we want to produce for the club and fans,” said McGibbon. “However, given the 12-point deduction hanging over the club from the IFA disciplinary committee, we need to get as many wins on the board as quickly as possible.
“It is about finding solutions to problems and looking at the development on a short, medium and long-term basis.
“We played some excellent stuff in the Ballinamallard win and created chances against Ards despite the defeat.
“However, we struggled in the Glentoran match, looked flat and lacked that bite.
“You always have to earn the right to play and, put simply, the best pass is the one which ends up in the back of the net.
“Players make systems, not the other way around, so we will work hard in training and during games to analyse any areas in need of improvement then continue to move forward.
“It must come from everyone working towards the same objective and getting the best out of each other on the pitch.
“The results have been disappointing, especially under the circumstances, although we hold the quality to find the answers.”
McGibbon maintains his belief in grassroots development but insists the situation must suit club and player.
“We need experienced heads to claw back those points and it is currently about battlers able to dig deep and get us out of the hole when it counts,” said McGibbon. “It would be unfair to throw in young players at present but we have some real prospects at the club and they obviously remain part of the future.
“You must hand out those chances in a way which will allow everyone to develop and flourish.
“Some of our signings continue to adapt but team spirit remains high and we visit Crusaders aiming to produce the performance needed for a result.”
Kick-off tomorrow (Saturday) at Seaview will be 3 o’clock, with Portadown home to Donegal Celtic next Tuesday from 7.45 in the NIFL League Cup.