irish league football

Niall Currie is in discussions with Portadown. Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Niall Currie is in discussions with Portadown. Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye

Portadown’s pursuit of a permanent manager at Shamrock Park gained momentum last night as talks opened with Ards boss Niall Currie.

Currie was granted permission to hold formal talks with the Ports directors following a request on Wednesday by the club to Ards.

Niall Currie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Niall Currie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

It is understood discussions between Currie and Portadown proved productive but negotiations are expected to continue today as the clubs seek to finalise terms of the manager’s move.

A statement released by Ards last night confirmed an official approach had been given the green light to move forward but stressed how Portadown “were at the outset informed that Niall had around 18 months to run on his contract and that our club would frown upon a job offer being made without compensation for breach of contract being discussed”.

Shamrock Park officials compiled a shortlist of candidates last week and subsequently identified Currie as the leading choice to fill the vacancy created by Pat McGibbon’s resignation in October.

Other names under consideration included Paul Doolin, Roddy Collins, Colin Malone, David Johnstone and long-serving Ports coach Trevor Williamson.

On a dramatic day for Portadown, Vinny Arkins informed club chairman Roy McMahon yesterday of his decision to leave Shamrock Park.

The former Ports captain and all-time leading scorer returned to the club this year as assistant to manager McGibbon then held the role of interim boss following the latter’s resignation on October 14.

Portadown directors have 60 days to make a permanent appointment but Arkins does not hold the UEFA ‘A’ Licence coaching qualification required to take up the post on a long-term basis.

Informal discussions have been held by club officials with various candidates over the past week but there was a desire within Shamrock Park to find a role on the backroom team for Arkins.

“I became aware there would be a diminished role for me moving forward so spoke to the chairman and told him it was best to make a clean break,” said Arkins. “I have left on good terms and wanted to do what is right for the players.

“It would not be the best preparation for the players to have me taking training on a Thursday but not involved moving forward.

“I have contacted the players and wish the club every success moving forward, as that is the most important thing.”

Williamson conducted last night’s training session and will be responsible for weekend team selection alongside club captain Keith O’Hara and senior player David Miskelly.