Waiting game over as Oman prepares to play central part

Ken Oman taking charge in the Portadown backline.INPT31-350
Ken Oman taking charge in the Portadown backline.INPT31-350

Ken Oman has spent the past six months watching, waiting and working - now he is ready to make his mark on the Irish League.

The experienced centre-back arrived at Shamrock Park in February on a cross-border switch that left both player and club unable to enjoy the maximum benefits due to red tape but allowed Oman an opportunity to adjust to life with the Ports.

Now the Dublin-born defender is relishing the chance to help Portadown progress as part of a squad he feels can challenge due to competition across the panel.

“I am not here to mess about,” said Oman. “We should all be in it to win it otherwise there is no point.

“I was chasing my tail when I joined Portadown in February due to the number of months after our season had ended back home.

“Then I could not play in the Irish Cup as I had signed after the registration deadline.

“I needed time to get back into shape and worked a lot with Trevor Williamson on extra sessions, plus my own routine and am now feeling in good shape but still working towards full match sharpness.

“Scott Paulin has come in as fitness coach and the sessions have been some of the toughest in my career but great too for everyone.

“Hopefully we can get off to a good start when the real stuff kicks off this weekend.

“I played quite a bit last season for the reserves and was obviously around the firsts so the time allowed me to settle in and I feel a real part of the squad.

“I have also spent quite a bit of time across the reserves and firsts with the younger players and have full confidence they can add something to the squad this season.”

Oman considers the progress of players such as Jordan Lyttle, Jake Richardson, Christian Stewart and Marcio Soares as key to this season’s trophy push.

Shea Conaty, also a product of the club’s youth development programme, finished last season as an established member of the senior panel. Now it is up to the other promising players to build on match minutes from last season and this summer to make an impact.

“Everyone obviously wants to be included and it is up to the player with the jersey to hold on to it,” said Oman. “We have options and players for different positions so that competition can only be good and help keep everyone sharp.

“I certainly look at how the younger players have come on and feel they have every right to be considered as competition for the more established players.

“It will be important we approach the season together as one team and I do not see any reason why that cannot happen and push us on.

“Players will be in and out due to injury, suspension and form but it is about sticking together and having the right attitude.

“The younger players are ready to take on that extra responsibility.

“This is one of the best dressing rooms I have been involved in during my career and I am sure everyone will go into the season thinking the same, that it is about whatever is good for the team and our goal is bigger than any one person.

“Why should we not talk about challenging for the league?”