Portadown will enter tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) final home fixture ahead of the hectic Christmas period in pursuit of crucial pre-festive points.
A mini-revival across November has served to reinvigorate the Ports following six successive defeats and victory against Glentoran this weekend would add another boost to the rise up the Danske Bank Premiership rankings.
The Glens hold a six-point gap over Ronnie McFall’s men but with Portadown having played one league game fewer than the sixth-placed visitors.
The rivalry between Portadown and Glentoran has developed into one of the most fierce in modern Irish League football. However, the high stakes connected to Saturday’s fixture put points as the priority over pure pride.
“We have been getting closer to our own game in recent weeks and Saturday offers a chance to build on that momentum,” said McFall, the Ports boss. “You want to move up the table and climb past those teams above you, with Glentoran the next side ahead of us at the minute.
“It is a shame our match was postponed last weekend with Warrenpoint Town as you want games as often as possible when on a good run.
“However, it will be the same gameplan this weekend as helped us to wins against Linfield and Carrick Rangers at Shamrock Park.
“At home you want the crowd behind you, to start on the frontfoot and work hard to close down the opposition.”
Garry Breen must serve a suspension - with Peter McMahon, Mark McAllister, Jordan Lyttle and Jake Richardson still on the treatment table.
“It is a big game for both clubs,” said McFall. “Glentoran have recently made a management change but we can only focus on our performance.
“Confidence is coming back but now we must extend that momentum into the busy Christmas run.”
A temporary switch from league focus arrived this week with the Irish Cup fifth-round draw that handed Portadown a January 9 home test with third-tier Wakehurst.
“All you can hope for in any cup draw is a tie at home,” said McFall. “We have that so then it is about preparing in the right way and treating Wakehurst with respect.”
Kick-off will be 3 o’clock.