Portadown confirm January centre-back plans but transfer talk ‘not a threat’
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton has declared every player’s place stands under threat from January transfer targets - but wants his current squad to embrace any future faces as additions not replacements.
The Ports play host to Carrick Rangers this weekend aiming to enhance a position three points off bottom in the Danske Bank Premiership.
A spirited scoreless draw at the same Shamrock Park venue last Saturday helped to secure a first clean sheet of the league campaign for Tipton’s players.
The search for increased solidity is one reason why Tipton has declared a New Year aim to bring in defensive strength but remains clear in his viewpoint he expects more across the board.
However, although Tipton’s goal is to bolster ambitions for the second half of the season with January window signings, the Ports boss wants to increase overall squad strength rather than simply stagnate by shuffling faces in and out.
“I’m out looking for a centre-half...the January transfer window is coming and my focus is to bring in one, or even two, into the football club,” said Tipton. “But if the players in the team keep performing like that (0-0 v Linfield) it doesn’t mean I won’t sign another centre-half but what it does mean is that will give me decisions to make.
“At the minute, there isn’t many or any of the players who can say their name is inked into the teamsheet every week.
“I don’t think we’ve had enough performances, individually or collectively, that I can say ‘he is definitely playing every game’.
“And that’s everybody and the players know that.
“I don’t think anyone has played well enough to say they are guaranteed a start in the team.
“My job is get better performances for the team so, as manager, if I need to bring it other players to do that then I will.
“But this is not a threat...I think that’s a waste of time.
“If I’m a player thinking my manager is after such-and-such a player then that would inspire me.
“Better players bring better teams, better teams bring better results, better results bring better positions in the league.
“The challenge, if we do bring better players in, is for those here to make sure they stay in the team.
“I’m not scattergun in my approach - if I target a player it’s because I think he has something that can improve our squad.
“If you stand still in football you go backwards and get overtaken.
“Anyone can raise a game against Linfield but we need that performance week in, week out.
“Although, we have seen it against other teams, so it’s not like that was just once.
“Everybody cannot play well 10 out of 10, that’s impossible.
“But you need to be physically and mentally ready to do the job on the pitch.
“Other teams might be able to get away with it 99 percent but we need all our players 100 per cent.
“What I class as 100 per cent is mentally you are at the game.
“I don’t think we’ve always been just at it - coming in 100 per cent with the game the only focus.”
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