title charge on the cards

Ken Oman heads Portadown into the lead against Loughgall on his debut. Pic by David Maginnis.

Ken Oman heads Portadown into the lead against Loughgall on his debut. Pic by David Maginnis.

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Victory at Shamrock Park tomorrow (Saturday) against the defending champions would increase the hold on third place.

The Ports trail Danske Bank Premiership leaders Crusaders by seven points and McFall has faith his squad can find winning form entering a crucial stage of the championship race.

Consecutive clean sheets in the league and Irish Cup suggest a return to defensive strength on top of such highly-rated attacking options.

“We can only focus on one game at a time, starting this weekend with Cliftonville,” said McFall. “However, we have some big games coming up and those fixtures against Cliftonville, Linfield and Glentoran attract big crowds.

“Players want to be involved in big games and since Keith O’Hara’s return to the side our defence has started to look a lot better.

“Ken Oman (pictured scoring against Loughgall) will need time to build up his match sharpness but also brings leadership, presence and experience.

“Chris Casement is making good progress with his recovery from injury.

“Players like Paul McElroy and Jordan Lyttle can only benefit from starting games like the Mid-Ulster Cup and building up minutes.

“We have the quality to challenge for honours and a trophy win would really push this group forward.”

McFall used the Mid-Ulster Cup tie with Loughgall to blood players from the club’s reserves and thirds, plus Portadown Youth.

“We had three 15-year-old players in the squad,” said McFall. “We will continue to use this competition to give young lads an opportunity with the firsts.”

Kick-off tomorrow (Saturday) will be 3 o’clock and home fans must enter via the Rectory Park turnstiles.