Defensive foundation in place to provide platform for progress

James Carleton. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
James Carleton. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown head coach Richard Hedley has marked improved defensive work as the perfect foundation for progress across 2016.

Key fixtures in the Qualifying League and Towns’ Cup across January will set a marker for the second half of the campaign.

A weekend success over CIYMS by 22-6 added another encouraging result to the senior schedule - with Hedley positive over improved performance levels across the pitch.

“We went into the match with a few players,” said Hedley. “However, we defended really well and that has been the case across recent weeks, which really gives us the perfect platform.

“We want to play a certain way and improved weather conditions have opened up the opportunities to approach games in that style.

“But it is important to do the basics the right way and get the defensive work right.

“If we get the defensive side right then it always gives us a chance to make progress as a team.”

Hedley considered the patience and discipline on display as highlights from the CIYMS success.

“We do not have lots of big guys so need to look at another way of working,” said Hedley. “If we can impose an attacking display on the opposition then it can hopefully stretch play and ask more questions of the other team’s defensive work.

“If we force the other side to defend more then it helps to neutralise the attacking threat and the work put in before Christmas during indoor training really helped us finetune that gameplan.

“The idea is to have that discipline and shape in place then you can go up against the bigger sides and continue to create but with a solid defensive foundation.

“Over time, as everyone continues to work hard and the system falls into place for more of the players, the idea is to be more ruthless in certain scoring situations.

“The Towns’ Cup match this weekend away to Banbridge seconds is going to be a tough test but another chance to build on our progress.”