Matthew Tipton embracing ever-changing Premiership landscape
Matthew Tipton has been both interested observer and eager participant in the development of Irish League football across the past decade.
Now the former striker and current Portadown boss is relishing the latest tactical challenge with the visit this weekend to Shamrock Park of Larne.
Having picked up a point from the Mid-Ulster derby against Glenavon, the Ports suffered a midweek setback in a 4-0 loss to Crusaders.
Now Larne arrive in town posing an alternative threat which Tipton considers an exciting evolution of the Irish League landscape.
“I’ve now been over in the Irish League for more than a decade and there’s certainly been a shift tactically,” said Tipton. “Back when I first arrived it was pretty much 4-4-2 across the board, now you see a wide variety of formations and most clubs can switch between a few different set-ups.
“So that’s the added challenge now across the Irish League, it’s not as black and white.
“We’ve faced Glenavon and Crusaders over the first two games and now a different challenge this weekend with Larne.
“It’s our job to prepare for those different tests and try to find a way to exploit what weaknesses we can see in the opposition.”
The midweek defeat to Crusaders served as a reminder of the small margins in Premiership football.
“I was happy with 90 per cent of our performance on Tuesday but the 10 per cent cost us the game,” said Tipton. “Individual errors have been a rarity but we conceded sloppy goals as a result against Crusaders down to those lapses.
“We’ve not yet been able to impose our attacking game in the way I want but on Tuesday it was also a case of 10 players missing.
“But, really, it often comes down to the mental challenge more than something like a fitness issue.
“If you stop tracking a runner it’s generally a result of dropping focus more than something physical and in the midweek defeat we suffered off those individual issues.
“But it’s over with and we now draw a line under the result but see what we can learn from any mistakes.”
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