match fitness the focus

Peter McMahon, Keith O Hara, Louise Ferris, Mark McAlister and Chris Casement new kit launch at Shamrock Park.
Peter McMahon, Keith O Hara, Louise Ferris, Mark McAlister and Chris Casement new kit launch at Shamrock Park.

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall is preparing for the new season with a unique first that he could do without.

With over 35 years behind him in management, 29 of those with the Ports, he will not make one signing ahead of a new campaign.

“I have not been in this position before,” said McFall. “You always like to bring in a new face or two but we have known for some time now that we will operate with the same small squad as last season and we will just get on with it.”

The first friendly is against Bangor on Saturday at Shamrock Park and the boss says the players are ‘flying’ in training.

“We have got a good couple of weeks behind us and everyone is in good spirits and looking to get their match fitness up ahead of the new season.

“That is the prime target at this stage. We have been working with stamina and fitness coach Scott Paulin and the players are enjoying it.

“After the Bangor game we have Stranraer next Friday night - two good games for us to be involved in.”

Missing from the match on Saturday will be Gary Twigg and Sean Mackle - both away on holidays. Gary Breen will not figure either after getting a cortisone injection in his ankle this week.

Chris Casement is back training but not ready for any football just yet although McFall says he will be ready for the first game of the season at Crusaders.

A tough start for the Ports, but McFall takes them as they come.

“You have to play them all some time. It does not matter if it is now or later. They have been doing well in Europe and may go into the game a bit sharper, but sometimes being back early can work for you or against you.”

The new home and away kit was launched this week and along with a full range of training gear is now available in club shop. Adult size is priced at £38.50. The shop is open tonight (Thurs) and Friday 6-8. Saturday 12-5. Admission prices for friendly against Bangor adults £5 OAPs £3 kids £1. Kick-off is 3.00pm.