Tennent’s Irish Cup: Portadown v Abbey Villa

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton

Manager Matthew Tipton feels Irish Cup progress will aid Portadown’s overall forward momentum entering a crucial stage of the campaign.

The Ports fifth-round test at home to Abbey Villa this weekend marks a first appearance this season in the high-profile knockout tournament.

With Bluefin Sport Championship promotion the priority for the Ports, the Irish Cup stands second overall in terms of goals despite the competition’s rich tradition.

However, Tipton is keen to challenge on multiple fronts with a view that momentum stands key to achieving the club’s ultimate ambitions.

“Really we want to carry on winning and benefit from the positives that can provide, irrespective of the competition,” said Tipton.

“It was important to get that win last weekend away to Dergview, especially off the back of the Boxing Day derby defeat of Loughgall.

“It handed us back-to-back league wins for the first time since those initial weeks of the season and to come out of the crucial festive run with full points marks a significant boost.

“We want to be ready for the second half of the season and that includes the Irish Cup.

“It is not about showing any disrespect to Abbey Villa but to have home advantage against a side ranked lower marks exactly what you want from any cup draw.

“That’s the reality of the situation but, of course, we must produce the right performance and at this stage of the season it can come down to mental strength and focus.

“Our preparations for every single fixture have to be right and we are looking at consistency overall.

“We’ve made some signings and a massive boost is having secured some of our most promising young payers to long-term contracts, with more to come.

“We want to continue to push on and that can only happen with the right approach to every fixture.”

The Millisle based Villa are one of a couple of Northern Amateur League clubs seeking to cause a Cup upset this weekend.