Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Braniff's no bad boy: McFall

Ronnie McFall is backing Kevin Braniff to put his disciplinary problems behind him and make an impact in Portadown's push up the Irish Premier League table.

The former Northern Ireland under-21 international was sent-off for the THIRD time this season in last Friday night's victory over Institute.

The Ports squad is already weakened by injuries, unavailability and the sale of Michael Collins to Newry City and Braniff's ban is the last thing that McFall needed ahead of his side's trip to Coleraine this afternoon.

"Kevin Braniff has played as a striker all his career, he's dropped into midfield because we've been short in there and basically he's been making striker's tackles," said McFall.

"It's taken him a while to adapt to playing in a different position and in the long run I don't see his disciplinary record being a problem.

"He hasn't been dirty and the last two sendings-off have been for two yellow cards.

"I have spoken to him and he knows that if he gets booked then he has to be careful what he does for the rest of the games."

Fortunately for Braniff the disciplinary points system has been scrapped and once the suspensions for those three red cards have been served they are wiped out.

Another Ports player who has been getting on the wrong side of referees is striker Andy Smith.

He has hit three goals so far since signing on at Shamrock Park in October, but has been booked immediately after scoring the last two of those.

McFall, however, has slammed football's rule makers rather than the former Northern Ireland international.

"The rules are a joke and it's getting to the stage where players can't celebrate goals any more," said McFall.

"I don't see what the harm is in a player pulling his shirt over his head if he wants to.

"We've been working with Andy to try to get him into the box more and I have no doubt that if he does that he will score more goals.

"I have spoken to him about his celebrations too and we can't afford him to pick up cheap bookings."

After losing three league games in a row the Ports are now on a three game winning streak and McFall is refusing to rule his team out of contention in the Premier League.

"I have said all along that we have been playing well and not taken our chances," said McFall.

" We've got three good results, the main thing now is to keep it going.

"December is always a big month and if other teams take points off each other then we can hopefully keep winning and move up the table."

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