Room for improvement ahead of first home test in the league

Richard Hedley.
Richard Hedley.
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Portadown head coach Richard Hedley was happy to put the result before the performance in Saturday’s win at Ballyclare - but remains determined to smooth out the rough edges on the practice pitch.

The 25-17 success arrived despite a disjointed display on the opening weekend of the Qualifying League season.

“We have an away win and bonus point so cannot complain too much but know more is to come,” said Hedley. “However, we have an in-form Bangor side at home this weekend and know we will have to produce a really strong display to match the visitors.

“We were poor on the basics last weekend but, in some regards, at least those can be fixed with not too much work in training.

“We will use the sessions this week to iron out those issues identified and move forward.

“The result was important on Saturday and we can take encouragement from how the players slumped at the final whistle despite the win.

“That was a reaction to the level of performance and I am confident they will get it right over the course of the season.

“We must focus this week on our preparation and mental approach to the Bangor match.

“It is about turning up with the correct attitude and making sure we produce on the pitch.”

Bangor arrive at Chambers Park boosted by positive results to date across pre-season and the competitive programme.

“The players will want to bounce back in terms of the performance level, plus playing at home adds to the game,” said Hedley. “We want to make Chambers Park a fortress and players always aim to produce in front of a home crowd.

“We were too passive in our play against Ballyclare but I am confident that will not prove the case this weekend when facing a strong Bangor side.

“We know we cannot afford to stand back on Saturday but we have looked at the video and know which areas to target.”

The weekend teamsheets are as follows:

Firsts v Bangor (home, league, start 2.30): M.Neilly, RJ.Greenlee, M.Wilson, J.Carlton, W.Graham, G.Hall, M.Allister, G.McCoy, D.Tully, C.Cousens, J.McClure, J.Holden, N.Davison, A.Morton, R.Purvis, L.McClure, R.Blair.

Seconds v Randalstown (away, league, meet 12 o’clock, start 2.30): M.Henderson, R.Dougan, M.Davison, D.Alexander, L.Bush, M.Muldrew, J.Burns, D.Hardy, J.Hampton, N.Irwin, C.Chambers, G.Currie, R.Quinn, S.Buckley, C.Megarity, J.Orr, D.Thompson, T.Johnson.

Fourths v Bangor thirds (away, league, start 2.30): N.Glass, S.Quinn, B.Williamson, B.Milligan, K.Gribben, K.Adams, AN.Other, P.Keightley, J.McAfee, R.Whitfield, P.Caldwell, G.Hutton, S.Lappin, R.Cornett, AN.Other.