IRISH LEAGUE: Ports waiting on Garrett

Portadown are hoping key midfielder Robert Garrett will be available to face Glenavon on Boxing Day. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye
Portadown are hoping key midfielder Robert Garrett will be available to face Glenavon on Boxing Day. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Portadown are waiting with bated breath on the latest IFA suspension list, to be released on Friday at the latest.

Reports last weekend had suggested that Robert Garrett’s booking against Dungannon Swifts was his 10th of the season and would therefore cause a two match suspension, meaning he would sit out the Boxing Day derby against Glenavon and the following six-pointer at Ballinamallard.

However, boss Niall Currie is adamant that the midfielder has only received nine yellow cards so far this term.

A suspension confusion regarding Garrett will bring back nasty memories for Ports fans after the failure to ensure he sat out against Ards earlier in the season meant Portadown had to forfeit the points.
Currie was, of course, in the opposition dugout that day and he has reassured fans there will be no repeat of that blunder against Glenavon.

“We think Robbie is ok to play but we certainly won’t make the same mistake again,” he said. “Hopefully he will be available because he would be a huge loss for us.”

Portadown’s squad is already approaching breaking point with midfielders Sean Mackle, Tim Mouncey and Brendan Shannon all unavailable as well as key defensive duo Keith O’Hara and Ken Oman.

Currie had earlier this week been hopeful that O’Hara’s ban may be rescinded after his second yellow appeared a somewhat harsh decision by referee Arnold Hunter.

However, the fact he was dismissed for two bookings as opposed to straight red card means there is no way it can be overturned to allow the defender to take to the pitch against Glenavon.

“We saw how good Ken and Keith are last Saturday,” said Currie. “They are two huge players for us but we’ve just got to get on with it now. We have the likes of Matty Parker on the fringes of the team and we will find a way to make sure we are competitive.

“We will have a bench full of kids again but there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Currie is hoping for a repeat of last weekend’s 2-0 win over Dungannon Swifts at Shamrock Park.

“It was a great day all round,” he reflected.

“There’s a great atmosphere about the place at the minute and we want that to continue.

“We’re working hard and the players have all been fantastic since we came in. Now we need to keep that momentum going.

“The home crowd was probably one of the biggest we’ve had for a wee while, the atmosphere they created was good and to see smiling faces at full-time was a wonderful experience.

“All the fans want and demand from the players is for them to give everything they have.

“They did that on Saturday and got the reaction they deserved from the supporters in return with a standing ovation at the end.

“We’re trying to implement a style of press to put the opposition under pressure when we don’t have the ball and at the same time, try and be expansive with it when we do have it.

“The players have to be brave in possession, to always be an option and to always want the ball. They did those things on Saturday and they worked very hard. That’s the only way forward for us.

“We know the system that we’d like to play but sometimes it’s horses for courses. At the minute we don’t have any wingers or much pace up front so we are a bit limited in what we can do.

“There’s still a long road ahead for us but if we can get a bit of depth into the squad with a few new faces in January, it will lift everyone,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Portadown defender John Convery, who worked with Currie at Ards, has rejoined the club as a coach.