Mickey Collins has taken a step back at Newry and come up trumps for manager Gerry Flynn.
The 31-year-old star is now operating in a three-man central defensive role and Flynn couldn’t be happier.
“He stepped back from midfield when Cullen Feeney picked up an injury earlier in the season and took to the position like a duck to water,” explains Flynn.
“At the moment he has an Achilles problem which he is trying to shake off. Perhaps, for that reason, he is not as mobile to play in the centre of midfield but this position suits him so well.
“He is not training because of the injury and to be fair we are just getting him through games, but he’s been one of our best players since the season started.”
Flynn captured the volatile star a year ago when he was also being linked with Coleraine, Ballymena United, Donegal Celtic and Eircom League outfit Bohemians.
Collins' poor disciplinary record led Portadown manager Ronnie McFall to take the decision to off-load the player.
Flynn, who played alongside Collins in the Cliftonville team that won the 1998 Irish League title, is hoping to talk him into staying at the back alongside Feeney and Emmet Friars,
“The partnership works well with Darren King and Ross Black operating as wing backs. I honestly believe Mickey has found a position that he could go on and play well into his 30s.”
Collins was one of several players to receive a yellow card in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Coleraine, although Flynn maintains he was unfortunate to do so, as were several others.