Matthew Tipton pride in Portadown work after Sheffield Wednesday transfer links

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton was surprised to hear of links this week between his captain Luke Wilson and Sheffield Wednesday - but welcomes continued recognition of the club’s youth commitment.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 4:56 pm

The Ports have yet to receive any official contact from the Championship outfit over Wilson, however, Tipton considers speculation another example of the growing reputation of both the player and club.

“Since I came into Portadown in 2018 it has been an area I wanted to enhance and over the past few years we’ve had players move to professional clubs in England and many accept invites to train or attend trials,” said Tipton. “The rumours over Luke and Sheffield Wednesday came out of the blue and certainly it is not a case of holding any talks.

“It may have been surprising to see transfer links but I’m not surprised that professional clubs are looking at our players.

Portadown captain Luke Wilson. Pic by Pacemaker.

“Someone like Luke has been captain and played around 100 games of first-team football by 21 years old, growing and developing all the time.

“Portadown has a proud tradition of youth development and I was keen to build on that to ensure opportunities for players and to benefit the club.

“George Tipton is about to hit the 50-game benchmark, the majority of which have been starts, at only 18 and the hope is young players see Portadown as providing the right pathway to either first-team football here or chances in full-time football.

“From my playing days in England I have a natural network of contacts and it’s about earning that trust from your players to help them make the right decision.

“I will never stand in a player’s way but also have advised players to stay with us in the Irish League rather than rush into a move which they may not be ready to maximise.

“Our belief in turning to youth was criticised by some as we worked towards promotion from the Championship, then again when coming into the Premiership.

“But I’m so proud of the players’ development and last weekend our average age was 22 in the starting line-up and it dropped probably to 20 with the substitutes coming on.

“It’s obviously always about ability and decisions will be about getting results and serving the club...but certainly I want Portadown to be seen as a place that gives players the right opportunities to progress.”

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