Portadown manager Matthew Tipton has issued a warning to his under-performing players that futures hang in the balance.
A visit to Shamrock Park on Saturday by Larne, the Bluefin Sport Championship division’s dominant side and favourites for the title, arrives off the back of a shock defeat by 3-2 to PSNI from a 2-0 advantage.
Tipton is adamant his words remain a reality check rather than threat ahead of the high-stakes clash between the second tier’s two high-profile clubs.
“Nothing will be decided overall this weekend no matter how the game goes against Larne and nothing can be decided in the league season by November,” said Tipton. “So I’m not just over-reacting to our loss to PSNI or looking to issue threats to the players.
“But we must also anaylse the situation and the bigger picture for this club means promotion back into the Danske Bank Premiership.
“Our two defeats so far have come under different circumstances but the common theme is a case of self-inflicted problems.
“There are still a lot of games to play of course but we keep on making the same mistakes.
“Some players I have been working with for nine months or so, others six or so and we continue to struggle with carrying out the instructions.
“If that continues we must look to the transfer window along with younger players.
“During the week we beat Banbridge Town in the Mid-Ulster Cup with younger players showing they can follow our gameplan.
“I have no doubt the players will produce this weekend but to achieve our goals we must have that consistency of performance.
“Too often individuals are making decisions that then impact on our overall progress.”
Tipton, who steered Warrenpoint Town to promotion out of the Championship, is firm in his faith that a blueprint remains in place to bring Portadown back to the senior stage.
“As manager it is my job and that of the coaching team to deliver a gameplan,” said Tipton. “Players have been able to show in stages they can follow it and in the past it has led to results.
“If that turns out not to be the case then we look at the situation and adjust.
“But too often our own mistakes come from not carrying out what we ask, so we have not been able to see if the instructions are right or wrong.
“Therefore, it comes down to having players who do what we ask and need first and foremost.”
Kick-off at Shamrock Park will be 3pm.