Hedley happy to see squad step up and adjust to in-game tests

Richard Hedley.
Richard Hedley.

Portadown’s pursuit of a top-four Qualifying League finish received a weekend lift thanks to success by 38-12 over Ards.

The bonus-point victory offered a boost to hopes of a strong final position and head coach Richard Hedley had praise for how his players adapted to injury and unavailability.

“I was pleased with the performance and it was interesting that the players came off the field a bit disappointed at not building on the final tally of 38 points,” said Hedley. “We got the bonus reward early in the second half and it was a good win overall.

“I was happy with the effort put in but it is pleasing to hear, as coach, the players disappointed not to have finished with more from the performance.

“It was especially encouraging to see how the players stepped up to adjust following certain setbacks.

“We already had James Carlton ruled out then suffered another lineout blow with the loss of Willie Graham.

“However, the players overall regrouped and managed to shoulder that extra responsibility.

“Diarmaid O’Kane was excellent, with Gareth McCoy also impressive in terms of stepping up when called on.

“Sometimes in a game it can take some time to get the message across during a match.

“Thankfully on Saturday we had examples of how the players made decisions and reacted to situations before we could send out the information.

“In terms of the squad’s development, that was excellent.

“We will know more about the extent of Willie’s injury over the next few days.”

Portadown visit Cooke tomorrow (Saturday) in search of another positive result.

“Conditions at this time of the season tend to be difficult, with ball movement a challenge,” said Hedley. “If we can build on last weekend’s performance then we should stay confident.

“It is going to be a tough test but our focus is on a strong finish to the league season.”