McGibbon: “Make the most of this chance”

Pat McGibbon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Pat McGibbon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Pat McGibbon is calling on the Portadown players to rise to the challenge presented by two league games inside four days that could secure senior status.

The Ports hold a four-point lead over Ballinamallard United entering the final four Danske Bank Premiership dates.

Tests with Dungannon Swifts and Carrick Rangers will arrive, respectively, tomorrow (Saturday) and Tuesday - with McGibbon keen to take full advantage of the opportunity for significant momentum.

“Saturday’s point managed to bring to an end the run of four defeats in my time as caretaker manager,” said McGibbon. “Now we must make the most of this chance to really strengthen our situation.

“Two games so close together mean you can build on the momentum from Saturday and carry that into Tuesday.

“Of course, both games present challenges but we have talked in training about how time is running out and it is about getting points on the board.

“Having the more experienced players coming back into the squad is ideal for our current needs, although the long-term focus remains on the importance of local players making progress.

“It is imperative we pick up a win sooner rather than later and this next week presents a real chance.”

Added incentive arrived with confirmation this week of a ruling by the Irish Football Association’s disciplinary hearing that has led to a fine and transfer sanction which will run until June 2017.

An appeal by the Ports directors will be heard next week but the decision offered clarity to the speculation surrounding potential automatic relegation or a points deduction. With the immediate risk now gone, McGibbon is keen to get the focus back on the football pitch.

“The players must keep the focus only on the pitch and that is all we can control,” said McGibbon, who this week held his interview for the permanent position. “The less uncertainty around the club the better.

“Hopefully a decision is also made sooner rather than later regarding the managerial appointment so the whole club can move forward.

“But it is up to the players to get the results on the pitch.”