‘TIMES’ IRISH CUP SPECIAL - McFall’s cup message: “We’re in it together”

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown manager Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Manager Ronnie McFall is calling on the club to band together on and off the pitch tomorrow (Saturday) and team up to take the Ports into the Irish Cup final.

The long-serving Portadown boss understands the advantage every minor detail can make on such an occasion and has spent his week preparing the players for the physical and mental test anticipated at The Oval against Ballymena United.

However, McFall also wants to rally the club’s fanbase to have a hand in making sure the trophy push does not end at the final whistle on Saturday evening.

“We need our supporters to really get behind us as it is a massive day for everyone,” said McFall. “We’re in it together and the fans’ backing can make a real difference.

“We have said from day one we are in it to win it and you want to make the most of every possible edge to help get past this challenge.

“We want the fans to make it a colourful occasion and get behind the team to cheer us on.”

We have said from day one we are in it to win it

Ronnie McFall

Portadown’s preparations suffered a double blow last weekend with red cards for Robert Garrett and Chris Casement in the closing stages of the league draw against Dungannon Swifts.

“We have lodged our appeal regarding Chris’ red but he is definitely out for Saturday, with Robert and Jake Richardson also suspended,” said the Ports boss. “Our hope is that the Irish Football Association look at the evidence and Chris avoids a six-game ban down the line for a headbutt.

“In terms of coping with the loss of two key men, we just have to keep our focus this week and trust the players available to step up and produce the performance.

“Mark McAllister and Darren Murray both got an hour on Tuesday with the reserves and Keith O’Hara will return from suspension.

“Previous form does not matter in such a big one-off occasion so we must focus on our own game.

“We have winners around the dressing room and that will help us deal with everything.”

Kick-off will be 5.30, with Portadown fans to enter via the away turnstiles. Extra-time or a penalty shoot-out will be used, if required, to settle the outcome.