Paul Doolin has declared that he is up for the fight after being tasked with saving Portadown from relegation.
The interim boss watched from the stand as his new team suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Crusaders last night. They are now nine points from safety.
“It’s tight, it’s going to be tough. If I can help the club and we can stay up, great,” said Doolin.
“I can’t make bold statements that I am going to do this and I’m going to do that, but I am going to try and hopefully put the experience that I have had in the past with other clubs to good use.”
Doolin now has 14 games in which to steer the Ports away from a potentially tricky play-off against the team that finishes runners-up in the Championship and he hasn’t allowed their perilous position to put off returning to the club where he won a league and cup double back in 1991.
“It was nice to get the opportunity,” said Doolin.
“It’s 14 games and I am happy enough to give a help out and hopefully we can stay in the league.
“You are never going to get a job when a team is leading the league are you? You only get a job when there’s something not right at a club or the results aren’t good.”
The situation at Portadown bares striking similarities to when Doolin took over at Drogheda United 19 years ago.
Back then the Louth club were in danger of slipping out of the League of Ireland’s top tier and also had 14 games left to play.
Now he is hoping to spark an identical turnaround, after steering the Drogs to safety.
“Drogheda were second bottom. They were probably hoping to reach the play-off then and we avoided it and then we went from there and with the same group of players we finished fourth,” he said.
“In the past I have been able to get results and I am just hoping that I can do that again. It would be brilliant to help the club stay in this league.”
Doolin allowed coaches Trevor Williamson and Neil McCullough — who had also been part of that double winning squad in 1991 — to take charge of the team last night and he will get the opportunity to work with the players for the first time at training tomorrow night.
“I am hoping I might just do something different that will trigger something that gets people going,” he said.
“We’ve got to try to win games first of all and with the league as it is now, with a lot of decent clubs who are full time it’s hard to get results. All I can do is work with these players and I might give them a bit of a reaction.”