Belfast Telegraph

Portadown will thrive on pressure: Braniff

By Stuart McKinley

Kevin Braniff won’t be weighed down by the expectation from Portadown fans — because he and his team-mates are placing high demands on themselves.

And the Shamrock Park star, who won two Northern Ireland caps back in May, is determined to take three points from the Ports opening league game of the season against derby rivals Glenavon tonight so that he can silence the Mourneview Park men.

Braniff claims that noises coming out of the Lurgan club have suggested that there is about to be a shift in power to take place in the mid-Ulster area.

“I think Glenavon have been less than complimentary about us,” said Braniff.

“I saw someone saying that they were going to have us. Well, we’ll see what the look on their faces is like after the match on Friday night.”

Portadown have had the upperhand in derby games for sometime now, but Glenavon manager Marty Quinn will be thinking that records are there to be broken and after last Saturday’s win over Coleraine confidence will be high.

There is no shortage of confident players in the Portadown squad either, after a European adventure which saw them lose only twice in four outings, following on from last season’s Irish Cup final appearance.

“Whatever the expectation level is I don’t see it as a problem,” said Braniff.

“The expectation within the squad is that we want to do better than last year and I don’t see any reason why we can’t challenge at the top of the table.

“A lot will depend on how we start. We started badly last season and if we’d started better we could have been up there.”

The Ports will be without European goal hero Richard Lecky this evening.

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