IRISH LEAGUE: Currie keen for Ports consistency

Portadown manager Niall Currie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown manager Niall Currie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Benefits beyond last weekend’s path into the Irish Cup quarter-finals could serve as a bonus to Portadown’s relegation fight.

Ports boss Niall Currie considers a March meeting at Shamrock Park with Glenavon as extra motivation towards securing crucial points over the remaining Danske Bank Premiership fixtures.

Victory in the league tomorrow (Saturday) against Ards would spark back-to-back wins and provide a push forward entering the closing stages of the season.

“I still do not think anything has been decided and we must go into Saturday with the focus on what we can do,” said Currie. “We must look on Saturday as a game we can win and start on the frontfoot at home in front of a big crowd.

“The support from the fans has been excellent all along and we must keep on fighting together as a club.

“We want to end the season knowing we gave it a real rattle and that starts off the back of the Loughgall cup win.

“Going into Glenavon we must take confidence from last weekend’s win and the prospect of such an exciting game to come at Shamrock Park in the quarter-finals.

“We are capable of picking up points, especially with more senior players coming back into the squad.

“Of course it is a massive ask but we have a squad now after January’s transfer window which should increase our options.

“Chris McGaughey is available again so we have three goalkeepers now pushing for selection.

“Ross Larkin was superb on his senior debut last weekend so adds to the selection thinking.

“We want to push Matt Hazley higher up the pitch, although he was impressive on his debut at left-back against Loughgall.

“Tiarnan Mulvenna and Shea McGerrigan both scored for the club for the first time on Saturday.

“Shea and Adam Foley are two excellent wingers and Shea was one of our best players in the Loughgall match, with Adam getting more into it after the break but both have made strong starts to life at Portadown.

“Tiarnan can gain confidence from his goal, with Shane Dolan off the bench and gaining minutes plus Mark McAllister looking sharper with every game.”

Currie was pleased with the character on the pitch as Portadown recovered from an early setback.

“We showed a lot of spirit to recover in the second half and bring that tempo into our game, which was missing early on,” said Currie. “We needed the result as a club and it has given us a financial boost but it is also about handing the players and fans a lift.

“Once players start to settle and we get more players back available that can only help our chances.

“The ultimate goal is a certain amount of consistency with selection as that allows partnerships to form across the pitch and players to learn the habits of team-mates.

“Everyone benefits from those kinds of situations and that familiarity could be vital moving forward.

“One of the main frustrations has been the limitations due to injuries and suspensions as we need experience on the pitch as much as possible.”

Kick-off at Shamrock Park against Ards will be 3 o’clock.