ROSS Redman (pictured) celebrated 250 appearances for Portadown on Friday night – but admits three points and a clean sheet provided the greater cause for cheer.
The left-back’s senior debut arrived in January 2007, with the 1-0 victory away to Ballinamallard United last week the perfect way to mark the latest milestone.
“It is great to reach that total for my hometown club and probably something a bit crazy if I stop to think about everything,” said Redman. “I still remember my debut and those early nerves but senior players like Keith O’Hara and Peter Kennedy really helped me.
“Keith was out injured at the time but he was a player I had always watched since joining Portadown, especially when the club moved me from left wing to full-back.
“Peter Kennedy played in front of me on the wing initially then moved into the centre and had that winning mentality.
“People like Peter and Mickey Collins helped me develop that mental strength as it was a dressing room full of big characters and, once selected, you had to show the same toughness irrespective of age.
“I would be the first to admit I am not exactly the traditional mould of a left-back but the game has also changed over the past few years so getting forward is encouraged more than ever, which suits my style.
“Although I love to get forward, with experience I have grown to value clean sheets and really enjoyed Friday’s win.
“Gary Twigg scored a brilliant goal but we also had to really defend as a team to stop a side with a very good record, especially at home, from getting back into the match.
“I was thinking more about the clean sheet and result to be honest but do feel reaching 250 is an honour and am now looking to the future and reaching 300 or 400 games.”
The Ballinamallard success arrived in the aftermath of a defeat at home to Cliftonville which exposed many of Portadown’s frailties.
“Under the circumstances we really needed to get a win as quickly as possible following Cliftonville,” said the 23-year-old defender. “The Coleraine game earlier this season when we lost 4-3 from a 3-0 lead really seemed to sit in the back of each player’s mind for weeks.
“Cliftonville was a wake-up call as we had probably been getting away with some below-par performances for a few weeks.
“The danger was letting it develop the same way as the Coleraine match in terms of demoralising the squad.
“However, the Ballinamallard result allows us to put the Cliftonville match to bed and focus now on building a run of positive games.
“Glentoran back at Shamrock Park this weekend so soon after the last game when we finished with nine men is another big fixture.
“We owe the fans a strong home performance after games like Coleraine, Glentoran and Cliftonville.”
Kick-off will be 3 o’clock.