Manager Matthew Tipton backing Darren Murray to fire Portadown forward

Matthew Tipton. Pic by Pacemaker.
Matthew Tipton. Pic by Pacemaker.

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton accepts the player’s past problems mark the signing of Darren Murray as a gamble - but his focus remains on the potential rewards.

Tipton sold Murray to Crusaders in the January transfer window as Warrenpoint Town boss.

Now he is aiming to benefit from Murray’s Crusaders release as Tipton plots a pathway out of the Bluefin Sport Championship.

Murray has, alongside the ignominious exit from Crusaders sparked by failure to report for a game, also previously been at the centre of negative attention in the colours of Portadown and Cliftonville.

But Tipton is happy to bring what some may see as a high-risk addition into his Shamrock Park panel.

In fact, irrespective of past frustrations, Tipton is drawing on first-hand experience of Murray’s history to support his faith.

“From a football point-of-view there wasn’t any question about bringing in a player of his quality,” said Tipton. “I’ve always rated him and then from working with him at Warrenpoint Town it confirmed to me he is one of the top three strikers in the country.

“I know the clubs who have wanted to sign Darren, everyone in the top six.

“This has been done in a matter of 12-15 hours as once the opportunity came along we had to jump at it.

“Well-respected players at this club from his first spell and others around the game rate and like Darren.

“We have a plethora of promising young players coming in who can only learn from the ability of signings like Darren and Sean Mackle.

“I made a promise when I joined to do my best for the football club and bringing Darren back is another step in that direction.”

Murray, who recently became a first-time father, has cited the past protection provided by Tipton as key to his decision to sign a two-year contract.

“I see a little bit of myself in Darren and know the positives that came from becoming a father and having family as my main focus, albeit at a younger age,” said Tipton. “As a manager, it is not just about a player and what he does for 90 minutes on the pitch.

“Darren knows he will get that support here to help him find that stability.

“He, like any player, will always get my full backing on and off the field as long as they are doing what we ask of the squad.

“Darren has a chance to come back here and make himself a real hero for Portadown at this period in the club’s history.

“We are in a position that no-one across the club wants us to be and, hopefully, the Portadown fans can see the real Darren Murray on the pitch.

“It is up to me to manage Darren, again like all players, but I believe I can do that and he knows the consequences if he falls again down the line.”