Portadown manager Matthew Tipton is looking down the league table ahead of a crunch clash at Dundela that could define the club’s chances of going up.
Last weekend’s meeting between the Ports and second-place Carrick Rangers was billed as a vital fixture in the race for promotion.
However, Tipton’s focus at the final whistle of the 2-2 draw turned to affairs away from Shamrock Park and a Dundela win which cut the gap on the Ports to just three points.
Now the sides go head-to-head this weekend at Wilgar Park and Tipton considers the forthcoming fixture of greater importance.
“The reality is there stands one game fewer to catch Carrick but a defeat at Dundela would really have an impact on our promotion hopes,” said Tipton. “Ultimately, our target is to simply finish one point above Dundela to make sure Portadown sit in the top three.
“Obviously coming into the season we had higher goals but, with just five games left, it is about dealing with the situation and the priority has to be protecting our position over Dundela more so than closing the gap on Carrick.
“Carrick visit newly-crowned champions Larne next and there is talk that home focus may drop at Inver Park.
“I do not believe that to be the case and, having been in that position with Warrenpoint Town, I know the drive players still have to finish the season in the right way.
“A win last weekend for us would have been a bonus but not make-or-break in the same way a win could have been for Carrick.
“Therefore, first and foremost, we have to ensure we stay ahead of Dundela and go out over those remaining games and do our job.”
Despite the loss of a two-goal lead over Niall Currie’s Carrick Rangers on Saturday, Tipton continues to draw confidence from recent performance levels.
“We were not clinical from certain positions and then conceded essentially off two Carrick set-pieces,” said Tipton. “But, overall, we did not look under pressure and can look back and feel the gameplan worked.
“We have made improvements in areas which cost us so often earlier in the season and must continue to have that belief our methods will get results.
“The hope is with every win we record between now and the end of the regular season it can give us an extra boost by cutting that deficit with Carrick but we cannot control other results.”
Kick-off is 3pm.
Supporters’ clubs will be leaving for Dundela as follows: OFFICIAL TRAVEL CLUB: Shamrock Park 1.30, JD Tipler’s 1.45; RICHHILL REDS: Village square 1.30; SHAMROCK REDS: Shamrock Park 1.45.