Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Portadown boss McFall keeps mind on job in hand

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall

Ronnie McFall last night laughed off the suggestion that he could be appointed as the successor to Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland manager.

The Portadown chief has been listed at 16-1 to be the next international boss by one firm of bookmakers.

And while it would be a major shock if the Irish FA appointed McFall, he is at least a more realistic candidate than some of those quoted, such as Jean Tigana, Brian Laws, Steve Cotterill or even Alan Shearer.

Still, it was enough to raise a chuckle from McFall as he said: “I didn’t know anything about that.

“It’s not something that’s come into my mind and I doubt I’ll be getting the job.”

Much more prominent in McFall’s thinking is tonight’s IRN-BRU League Cup clash with Glentoran at the Oval, with Glens manager Scott Young is himself rated at 100-1 for the Northern Ireland job.

The teams have met in the semi-finals of the competition in each of the last three seasons — with the Ports winning last season’s final four meeting in east-Belfast.

Although this time it’s a last 16 game McFall wants a repeat of that result and he insists that the knockout competition isn’t a distraction from the league as the Ports sit joint top with Linfield.

“It’s one game at a time and our approach is always the same — we set out to win,” said McFall.

“We’ve quite a good record in this competition over the last few years (winning it in 2009 before being runners-up last season) and we’d like that to continue.

“At this stage of the competition though I think this is a game that both teams could do without.”

Cup holders Lisburn Distillery face a difficult task in maintaining their grip on the silverware as they host Crusaders, who won at Ballyskeagh 10 days ago.

Cliftonville will be looking for a repeat of last Saturday’s 4-1 win over Dungannon Swifts when the sides meet for a second time in five days at Solitude.

The other four ties see Championship opposition attempting to upset the odds against Premiership sides. Bangor and Newry City have home advantage against Ballymena United and Coleraine respectively, while Dergview have a long trip to Donegal Celtic.

Carrick Rangers and Limavady United, who fought it out for the Championship title last season, go head-to-head at Seaview.

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