Portadown manager Pat McGibbon retains his belief that progress remains possible despite transfer sanctions imposed on the club by the Irish Football Association.
The verdict of the IFA Appeals Board - in relation to two counts of bringing the game into disrepute - has resulted in a ban on the signing of “new professional players from 12 April 2016 until 1 June 2017 and an immediate fine of £5,000”.
It is understood the sanction on professional contracts does not relate to existing Portadown players due to become free agents.
McGibbon is facing a crucial summer, with just seven players under contract and his rebuilding options now restricted by the sanction.
However, the former Northern Ireland international is confident he can move forward.
“We now have a clear picture in terms of both the management situation and transfer issue,” said McGibbon, who stepped into the caretaker role following Ronnie McFall’s resignation and had his position as permanent manager on a two-year deal confirmed hours before the release of Friday’s IFA ruling. “That is important for everyone connected to the club and now is the time to move forward together.
“It remains obviously a work-in-progress.
“However, we can now start to look to the future and the process of identifying players.
“I want to get in place the key ethos of my team as honest, with hard-working and talented players available irrespective of reputation.
“It is not about signing big names or spending big money, the most important aspect is a group collective.
“Reputations do not count on the pitch and now we know the situation we can analyse our targets.
“We have already had success in bringing youth players into the first-team squad over the past few months.
“Building on those links with the youth was always going to be a big part of my philosophy anyway so that internal development can continue irrespective of any sanctions.
“I am optimistic about the potential and ability of young players on the books and coming up the ranks.
“Ultimately, it is about making decisions based on the situation and now that is clear we have some stability.”