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McGibbon is hoping positivity pays off at Mourneview

By David Mason

Published 01/10/2016

Big task: Pat McGibbon admits he could do without the derby
Big task: Pat McGibbon admits he could do without the derby

Pat McGibbon admits a Mid-Ulster derby is probably the last thing he needs as Portadown appear to stumble from one crisis to another.

With a 12-point Danske Bank Premiership deduction and a hefty fine still hovering over Shamrock Park like a bad smell - plus a ban on signing players - McGibbon is faced with an almost impossible task of steering the club clear of relegation.

It means that Gary Hamilton's Glenavon will scent blood when the Ports rock up at Mourneview Park in the first Mid-Ulster derby confrontation of the new campaign.

"I suppose it wouldn't be high up on my wanted list," quipped McGibbon. "But it is what it is. From a motivational point, it maybe comes at a good time for us.

"The players will certainly require little motivation for a derby game, so we must go into the match in a positive mindset.

"We have prepared well, so we are hoping the tide will turn for us soon."

Portadown have won only two of their eight games, leaving them a whopping 10 points adrift of ailing Carrick Rangers - although the final decision on the 12-point deduction has still to be ratified by the IFA.

McGibbon added: "Every game now is a prisoner to us, we have to start putting points on the board.

"Yes, it has been a difficult period for the club, there is no question about that. The 12-point controversy has dragged on for far too long. It's important to get that sorted out as soon as possible, especially from a management and playing perspective.

"To be honest, we have been working from the beginning of the season with our hands tied behind our backs.

"We couldn't go out and sign players, unless they were amateur.

"The only professionals we could deal with were our own players who were coming out of contract. So it has been a trying time."

Elsewhere, Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey is looking forward to his first north-west derby with Coleraine playing hosts this afternoon.

"When I stepped down as Linfield manager I made an effort to go to all the derbies and the north-west one was next on my list," said Jeffrey. "I've heard a lot about the fixture and like any derby clash you know it means so much to the fans.

"It is important to win these matches. We have been working hard I believe we are seeing the fruits of our labour.

"We have revamped the squad and are in good form but every match presents different challenges. The players have responded well."

Belfast Telegraph

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