Murray part of Ports plans

Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Darren Murray is in line to face the Portadown fans tonight (Friday) for the first time since lodging a transfer request.

The striker has made clear his desire to leave Shamrock Park but Portadown have rejected Murray’s appeals for a move despite official interest from rival Irish League clubs.

A number of supporters may use Murray’s first appearance in front of a home crowd to voice anger at his transfer request.

However, manager Ronnie McFall views the relationship as professional.

Portadown face Scotland’s Stranraer for what should prove the most demanding friendly in the pre-season programme - and McFall considers Murray available for selection.

“Darren had a cortisone injection so missed last weekend’s game against Bangor but I hope to have him okay for Stranraer,” said McFall. “Darren has been fine in training and we do not have any problems, with both club and player professional.

“He is in good shape and our stance will not change, that Darren is not for sale and under contract for two more years.

“He is part of our plans and the idea is to use the friendly games as an opportunity to give everyone minutes on the pitch.

“It is about moving forward and working towards the future, with our intensive fitness work the ideal foundation leading up to games.

“Stranraer will give us a tough test and the Bangor match on Saturday was a good chance to dust off the cobwebs.

“Scott Paulin has been working the players in and out of the gym.

“He will remain on board for the full season and the players have responded well to his methods.

“The hard work has been put in off the pitch and now we want to obviously use the friendly games to sharpen the match fitness.”

Kick-off tonight (Friday) will be 7.45.