Belfast Telegraph

Campbell striving to close gap on Portadown


High aim: Ryan Campbell wants a top-flight return
High aim: Ryan Campbell wants a top-flight return

By Steven Beacom

Ballinamallard United ace Ryan Campbell insists the race is on to catch Portadown at the top of the Championship.

The veteran striker, who has been named Championship Player of the Month for November, believes December will be a key month for the Ferney Park outfit in their quest to move closer to Matthew Tipton's leaders.

Portadown are six points clear of Harry McConkey's side with the pair scheduled to meet in Fermanagh on December 14.

Before then, second-placed Ballinamallard are planning to leave bottom club Knockbreda with maximum points tomorrow, while Portadown are at home to Ards.

The Championship winners are promoted automatically to the Irish Premiership while the runners-up face the play-offs.

With Portadown drawing 1-1 at Dundela last weekend, Ballinamallard missed a chance to close the gap by losing 3-2 at home to third-placed Loughgall.

Typically, Campbell was on target for McConkey's club. The man known as Rocket may be 38 now but he remains a highly influential figure and if Ballinamallard are to return to top-flight football you can bet the forward will have played a huge role.

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"We are six points behind Portadown and the aim for us is to catch them," said Campbell. "December is going to be an important month at the top of the table and we have to make sure we produce big performances."

Campbell earned the vote of the Northern Ireland Football Writers' Association (NIFWA) for November's top Championship player having scored six goals last month.

He said: "It is always nice to pick up an award and I want to thank the NIFWA for selecting me. I think it's down to how well the team have been playing and if the team weren't playing well and creating chances then I wouldn't be scoring."

Caretaker manager Craig McClean will be in charge of Ards for the final time at Portadown with the club hoping to appoint Warren Feeney's successor in the coming days.

Tomorrow's Bluefin Sport Championship fixtures: Knockbreda v Ballinamallard, Loughgall v Newry, Queens v H & W Welders (all 2pm), Ballyclare v Dundela, Dergview v PSNI, Portadown v Ards (all 3pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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