Portadown manager Ronnie McFall feels Chris Casement’s contract extension has secured the “best right-back in the Irish League” to Shamrock Park on a long-term basis.
Casement’s deal was due to run out in the summer and Linfield lodged a formal letter requesting permission to negotiate with the talented defender.
However, McFall moved quickly to offer fresh terms and Casement confirmed a four-year agreement on Tuesday night.
The Ports boss not only considers Casement the top right-back in the current era but also compares him to past greats such as Martin Russell and Peter Kennedy due to his set-piece quality.
Casement delivered two moments of magic on Saturday against PSNI to keep alive the Ports’ Irish Cup adventure, with an assist for Gary Twigg’s strike before curling a sublime free-kick into the top corner.
“Chris and Ross Redman offer us so much up and down the flanks and attacking full-backs play a big role in our gameplan,” said the boss. “I think we have the best full-backs in the Irish League and you see the dedication they put into set-pieces by working before and after every training session.
“People like Martin Russell and Peter Kennedy had great skill in that area and I have no doubt Chris is up there with the best.
“There was a formal approach from Linfield but we wanted to tie Chris down to a long-term deal and the news comes as a massive boost to the club.
“Chris recently turned 27 years old and I consider him coming into his peak years as a player.”
The Ports had to count on key contributions from Casement, Twigg and David Miskelly to edge into the next round. McFall admits performance levels must improve for tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) visit by Ballymena United in the Danske Bank Premiership.
“The weather was horrendous in the first half but cup football always comes down to the result and no-one will remember the performance down the line,” said McFall. “Mark McAllister and Tim Mouncey will miss the Ballymena game due to suspension but everyone is fit bar Keith O’Hara.”
Kick-off will be 3 o’clock.