McGibbon to kick off Ports rebuilding plans

Pat McGibbon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Pat McGibbon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown manager Pat McGibbon will take the first steps tomorrow (Saturday) towards reshaping his Shamrock Park squad by holding a meeting with players.

A 2-0 victory at Ballymena United secured the Ports’ top-flight status last Saturday in the final fixture of the Danske Bank Premiership.

That win arrived two days after confirmation of McGibbon’s appointment as permanent Ports manager on a two-year deal following eight games in the caretaker role.

Following a season staged under uncertainty on so many fronts, McGibbon is relishing the prospect of drawing a line under that troubled campagn and putting the focus on the future.

“We want to hit the ground running from that first day of pre-season, so it is important to make decisions as quickly as possible,” said McGibbon. “There was such a big effort against Ballymena and that is the combination of passion and ability we want to see in the future.

“This weekend I will talk to the squad collectively and on an individual basis to outline our philosopy for the next couple of years.

“We can have a discussion and shape the squad off the back of this weekend, with the goal to come out of the meeting with a clear picture of how everyone feels.

“We are juggling players at different stages of careers and with different priorities, so that is why we need to sit down and make sure everyone is on the same page.

“We want to do our business with a squad as soon as possible as the target is to be competitive next season with a group of hungry players.”

McGibbon lined out last weekend with two teenage strikers along the frontline in Marcio Soares and Nathaniel Ferris but experienced names such as Gary Twigg, Ross Redman and Mark McAllister on the substitutes’ bench.

“We make decisions based on a side and tactical set-up to win a particular match,” said McGibbon. “We had to try out different combinations to try and get the results needed to stay up.

“The players who did not start were professional and the young lads did not let anyone down.

“Ultimately, it is a simple game that comes down to players.”