Linfield challenge holds no fear for Portadown
Portadown 4 Carrick Rangers 0
Pat McGibbon is relishing taking Portadown to Windsor Park for the first time after seeing his team produce the most compete performance of his reign.
Four goals, a clean sheet and a solid all-round team display against Carrick Rangers, as well as significant showings from a number of individuals, had McGibbon beaming on the day that the Ports halved their 12-point deduction.
Stephen Hughes, debutant Alan Byrne, Aaron Haire and Robert Garrett grabbed the goals but, while everyone at Shamrock Park could reflect on plenty of positives, they know that much stiffer tests lie ahead - and quickly too with a trip to Linfield this Saturday.
"I don't think we will be going to Windsor Park with fear," said McGibbon.
"It's going to be a very tough game and we are going there with a lot of players who haven't played at Windsor Park before which means it's going to be very difficult, but there are also a lot of players who have played in big games and we will look to them for leadership."
McGibbon is seeing signs that the work put in over the last couple of months is starting to bear fruit and had they not been restricted by a 12-point penalty, the Ports would now be sitting in ninth position.
He added: "There is a lot of energy there. It is starting to come out now, it took a wee while and the big one is that there is a new group of players. But there is also a core there and it is important that we have that behind us," said McGibbon.
PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Carson, Byrne, O'Hara, Rodgers, Shannon (Simpson, 90 mins), Henderson, Garrett, Withers, Hughes (Kirwan, 90 mins), Haire (Ferris, 90mins). Unused subs: McGaughey, Mouncey.
CARRICK: Morrell, McKeown, Surgenor, McNally, McCullough, McNicholl, Morrow (Rice, 74 mins), Murray, Hanley (Lavery, 64 mins), McCaul (Chines, 54 mins), Salley. Unused subs: Taggart, McFall.
Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)
Man of the match: Robert Garrett
Match rating: 7/10