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Darren Murray has got fresh targets with Portadown

By Graham Luney

Published 15/08/2015

Good call: Mark McAllister has warmly welcomed Darren Murray's (pictured) decision to stay with Portadown PACEMAKER
Good call: Mark McAllister has warmly welcomed Darren Murray's (pictured) decision to stay with Portadown PACEMAKER
Mark McAllister
Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin will be disappointed by Murray's decision to stay

Mark McAllister has welcomed Darren Murray's change of heart and wants to see his strike partner terrorise more defences in a Portadown jersey.

Linfield, Cliftonville - the Ports host the Reds today - and Derry City were interested in securing Murray's signature and a Shamrock Park exit looked on the cards when the player put in a transfer request.

Portadown, however, insisted the 23-year-old was not for sale and their resolve to keep hold of the striker has paid off as Murray now says he's happy to stay put.

The Ports stated yesterday: "We can confirm that Darren Murray has withdrew the transfer request he submitted to the club in July & has committed his future to the club."

Former Linfield favourite McAllister says he's now looking forward to watching Murray weave more magic in mid-Ulster.

"I just found out about the news on Friday and it's great news for the club because we all know what Darren can do and he showed his class again against Crusaders on the opening day.

"He's a massive goal threat and I always hoped he would stay. From speaking to Ronnie (McFall) I got the impression the club really didn't want Darren to leave and when Ronnie feels strongly about something then you believe that is the case.

"The club have done very well to hold onto Darren and the player himself trained hard and just wanted to play football."

When Murray expressed a desire to leave the Ports he suggested that a switch to a top Belfast club would enhance his chances of making it across the water but the striker enjoyed a trial at Morton this week and McAllister believes impressive performances with the Ports can see him realise his dream.

"Scouts don't just go to matches in Belfast, they go to games everywhere," added McAllister. "If Darren scores goals for Portadown he will be noticed.

"There are a lot of good young players around the league and they don't just play for the Belfast sides. Darren just needs to work hard and we all realise he is good enough to make it at a higher level if he keeps improving."

McAllister is available to get his season up and running today after being suspended for the first two battles.

"The boys have done well without me so let's see if I can get into the team," added the former Linfield striker.

"It was a tough start for us but two wins on the bounce is fantastic. Cliftonville are a very good side and it will be a tough game for us. For us to be successful this season we must improve our disciplinary record because we know we have a team that can challenge for the league title."

Murray's u-turn is a blow to Reds boss Tommy Breslin who waved farewell to Joe Gormley this summer but Cliftonville still have enough attacking flair to maintain their stunning start to the campaign today.

As for the man at the centre of the transfer saga, Murray will be relieved the speculation is at an end.

After his two goals against Crusaders, Murray said: "The last month has been difficult and you get speculation everywhere. You don't know what's going to happen next and I was waiting for information like everyone else.

"All you can do is keep your head down and turn up for training with a determination to put in a good performance.

"Once the game starts it's all about the football and you forget about everything else."

Belfast Telegraph

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