McFall keen for calm after January storm

Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Ronnie McFall will relish the sound of midnight on Monday and the closure of a transfer window which has added extra pressure on Portadown’s inconsistent campaign.

The January period has featured the departures of Darren Murray and Shea Conaty from the senior squad at Shamrock Park, plus news of Michael Gault’s pre-contract agreement to join Crusaders in the summer.

Speculation over the future of players including Gary Twigg, Chris Casement, Robert Garrett and Garry Breen has served to increase the negative spotlight shining on the club - alongside a dispute between officials and the player, now on the table of the IFA, relating to Peter McMahon’s injury treatment.

The Ports now sit in the middle of a five-game losing slump across league football and with sole hopes of silverware on next weekend’s Irish Cup tie.

Uncertainty over the direction of the club beyond this season, with long-serving manager McFall expected to leave in the summer, is also a key off-the-field issue.

“There has been too much going on, a lot of it to do with the transfer window,” said Ports boss McFall. “Hopefully, it will start to settle down after Monday and we could certainly do without so much going on.

“These things do not help and, once everything starts to settle, I still feel we can get something from the season.

“We are getting close to our strongest starting 11 and, as more players return, we can start to hopefully get better results.”

McFall maintains he has the squad to compete across the league and cup fronts over the second half of the season.

“We have been below full power but we can still achieve our targets once players become fit and available,” said McFall. “Momentum can help us as a win in one competition will help in the next.

“Philip Lowry came in last weekend and made his debut.

“We have signed Mike Withers from Lisburn Distillery on an 18-month contract with a view to the future but who can add pace to the squad.

“There is nothing else happening at the minute in terms of bringing anyone in.”

Portadown visit Cliftonville tomorrow (Saturday), with kick-off at 3 o’clock.