Relegation fight remains the priority

Noel Mitchell (right). Pic by Phil Ray
Noel Mitchell (right). Pic by Phil Ray

Portadown’s visit to Lakeview Park on Tuesday may offer a number of incentives but Loughgall coach Steven Hawe insists league form must remain the priority.

A derby victory against the top-flight Ports would put Loughgall into the Mid-Ulster Cup semi-finals but the Villagers’ struggle for league form dictates the focus extends beyond next week.

“We have got to be realistic about our situation and this is a battle to avoid relegation, which is obviously massive for the club,” said Hawe. “A cup quarter-final tie against a side in the senior division has plenty of appeal, especially a derby when so many of the players probably know each other well.

“However, we view the game as another opportunity to put into match practice our training work before the next league test.

“Since coming into the club at the start of the year we have been bedding in signings and attempting to build confidence.

“We know that takes time but league points are vital under the circumstances.”

An own goal left Loughgall on the backfoot against Harland and Wolff Welders in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat.

Michael McLellan, the former Portadown striker, scored a penalty in first-half injury-time then added his second in the closing stages.

LOUGHGALL: Symon Ferguson, Mark Carson, Ross Black, Mark Stewart, Ricky Copeland, Gary Henderson, Marcus Dallas, Tom Carlin, Wesley Boyle, Ryan Moffatt, Warner Mullen. Subs: Jeff Brady, Matt Reynolds, Aaron Patterson.

Kick-off on Tuesday against Portadown will be 7.45.

The remaining Mid-Ulster Cup ties are Armagh City v Lurgan Celtic, Glenavon v Dollingstown and Annagh United v Dungannon Swifts.

Loughgall’s recently-postponed NIFL Championship One fixture at home to Ards will now take place on Saturday, February 14 from 3 o’clock.

GRASSROOTS

Dale Mulligan found the net for Loughgall Youth under 14s against Glendowan - with Ryan Faulkner impressive in the National League match.

LOUGHGALL YOUTH: Daniel Acheson, Josh Woods, Ryan Irvine, Ryan Faulkner, Scott McCann, Jonathan Ewart, Tyrek Thompson, Dale Mulligan, Adam Alexander, Luke Murray, Zane Brown, Kyle West, Jack Hamilton.