Portadown striker Mark McAllister has given under-fire manager Ronnie McFall his full backing and put the blame for a poor run of results on the players.
McAllister was forced to sit out Saturday’s 3-0 defeat by Ballinamallard United due to hamstring trouble - one of the high-profile injury victims on the Ports treatment table.
McFall has highlighted injury issues as key to a slump in form which has pushed Portadown into the bottom half of the Danske Bank Premiership table.
“Ronnie is a brilliant manager and we have let him down,” said McAllister. “From the start of the season and, to be honest, even the tail-end of last, we have not been good enough.
“Our job is to compete and we cannot blame others for not turning up.
“Training is good, with everyone working hard but then too often we have not turned up in games, despite a squad with so much ability.
“It is not about pointing fingers at individuals or looking for excuses by blaming small moments which have gone against us.
“We have the same squad as last season and were battering teams this time last year so need to get back to that form.
“It is about working together and winning comes down to more than ability.
“No side has a divine right to win a match and this league, especially, is about attitude and work-rate before you can look to ability.”
McAllister’s season has been disrupted by injury issues but he remains confident in the quality of the squad.
“There is a lack of confidence due to things not going well but this is a talented squad and we need to be pulling in the same direction to get back to the right style of football,” said McAllister. “We have players suffering from injury and I have not really been right from last Christmas.
“At the minute we have three strikers with hamstring trouble, with Gary Twigg and Darren Murray plus myself.
“But we also have talented young players pushing the senior lads and the only way out of the mess is to work together and get that self-belief back.”
Portadown welcome Crusaders to Shamrock Park tomorrow (Saturday), with kick-off at 3 o’clock.