Portadown’s Player of the Month has had to take a fair bit of ribbing after his bright start to the season.
Lurgan lad Mark Carson has begun life at the top level with apparent ease, taking his Premier League debut in his stride and going on to string together a series of impressive displays in Portadown’s right-back spot.
But when your family is chock-full of Glenavon supporters, that doesn’t come without its share of abuse. There were even a few boos at Mourneview Park on Saturday, ringing out in jest from a few of his friends watching from the home stand.
And none of it is going to stop him doing all he can to bring success to Shamrock Park.
“I’m enjoying the craic about it but all I ever wanted to do was to play in the Premiership,” said the 23 year-old. “Portadown have given me that opportunity. Pat (McGibbon) has been super and I’m enjoying every bit of it.
“Wherever I’m playing, I will give absolutely everything for the club.
“From the start of the season, I wanted to establish myself in the team and thankfully, particularly this last month, I’ve played every game and managed to take my chance.”
Carson was voted Player of the Month for September by the Portadown supporters. His subsequent impressive performance against Glenavon on Saturday proved those fans to be just about spot on.
“It’s a big boost,” he said. “It’s nice to get any rewards like that. Even going into the Glenavon game, knowing I had got Player of the Month was very encouraging and a big boost to my confidence.”
The right-back was voted Loughgall’s Player of the Season in the 14/15 season, earning a move to Shamrock Park over a year ago. A first spell under Ronnie McFall proved frustrating and a move back to Lakeview Park materialised in January.
Just a few months on and he has made sure to take his second chance at top flight football with both hands.
“It’s definitely a bit of a change,” he said. “It’s a lot faster and you’re playing in front of bigger crowds but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m working hard and loving it at the minute.
“The game against Glenavon was great. I was getting texts all week from aunties and uncles - you name it. I really enjoyed playing in it and only for the sending off, I think we could have got something out of it.
“It really showed the togetherness of the squad. Going down to ten men, we could have folded but we worked hard and we were still competitive. If Alan Byrne’s shot had gone in rather than hit the post, it could have been different.
“I got a few nice messages after the game as well. I would have loved to have been able to take a point or three out of it as well but it wasn’t to be.”
Portadown have suffered seven defeats from their opening nine league fixtures but Carson is optimistic that better times are just around the corner.
“There’s a really good buzz about,” he said. “We’re not getting results but at least people can see that we’re playing well. We’re focused on turning that into results and getting ourselves out of the position we’re in.”