Carrick Rangers can confirm Portadown’s drop into the Championship this weekend but the focus of manager Aaron Callaghan remains only on the view above.
Rangers remain in the relegation play-off spot, 14 points clear of the basement-based Portadown with five fixtures left on the calendar going into Saturday’s Shamrock Park clash.
Anything other than full points will seal the Ports’ fate but Callaghan is refusing to look below or beyond Rangers’ own targets.
“It is not about Portadown and we will concentrate on the positives for our own club, with Ballinamallard United above us by eight points,” said Callaghan. “If we can keep up the standards set in recent performances and training sessions then we have to consider catching Ballinamallard a realistic goal.
“We accept pride comes into it for everyone but our aim is to get what would be a crucial win at Portadown if we are to stand a chance of closing the gap on Ballinamallard.
“Since I came into the job I’ve been trying to give Carrick back the club’s identity and we are getting there, with Premiership survival key.
“Staying up would be the Holy Grail for us and give the club that fresh impetus for next season.”
Portadown stand 90 minutes away from relegation - but manager Niall Currie has moved to cement the future with fresh deals for five young players.
Goalkeeper Chris McGaughey has signed a contract to keep him at Shamrock Park next season along with promising teenagers Zac Wilson, Jackson Holmes, Luke Currie, who arrived last December to take charge of his hometown club, is turning his focus to the future of the Ports.
“Chris ticks every box for me as a really promising young goalkeeper at just 24 years old,” said Currie. “Zac, Jackson, Luke and Adam all have big futures at this club.
“We know going into Saturday where the club is at but next season is about having the right mix, players with the passion and hunger we need.”