Portadown boss Matthew Tipton’s focus only on overall progress by his players

Life as a football manager is often one of singular belief over an accepted collective viewpoint.

Saturday, 18th September 2021, 3:17 am

Portadown boss Matthew Tipton heads into today’s test with Carrick aware his approach to the fixture may go against the mass stance of an early-season ‘six-pointer’ but remains unrepentant over his ambitions.

Multiple pre-season predictions put Portadown, Carrick, Warrenpoint and Dungannon Swifts as relegation candidates.

The Ports hit the road still searching for a first win following a derby draw and defeats to clubs with superior resources in Crusaders, Larne and Linfield. Carrick, with Stuart King in his first season as a top-flight manager, can reflect on two wins posted from four games.

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton. Pic by Pacemaker.

Tipton rejects the wisdom of placing greater emphasis on one fixture over another and is adamant his only target this weekend is to gain the reward of victory for his players’ encouraging progress.

“I never understood the idea of looking at individual games as more or less important...every league match has three points on the table and we go in every time looking for those points,” said Tipton. “I’ve seen footage of Carrick and they certainly looked really good going forward last week against Glenavon.

“But, really, as a manager my only focus is on improving my players and working towards our own progress.

“Who we play in the next game, at any stage, is only important to me in terms of my expectations of what we can achieve as Portadown.

“We go to Carrick having lost back-to-back home league games but with some really positive signs.

“I felt last weekend against Linfield it was a different performance to the previous game with Larne, when at 2-0 down you’ve nothing to lose.

“From the first whistle against Linfield we moved the ball around well and did everything with real purpose.

“Basically, the players went out and did everything asked of them by us and I felt it was a display good enough to win three points.

“But, ultimately, Linfield were better.

“However, it’s always about striving towards reaching our best and having faith the rewards will follow.”

The Ports must travel to Carrick with playmaker Ruairi Croskery out injured following a midweek League Cup appearance.

“We have to wait for the swelling to go down but an x-ray did not show a break,” said Tipton. “It’s such a shame for a lad who has worked so hard and we were really starting to see his influence grow.”

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