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Hurting Portadown are still hungry to stay in the hunt


Adrift: Ronnie McFall warns derby is a ‘must win’ game

Adrift: Ronnie McFall warns derby is a ‘must win’ game

Adrift: Ronnie McFall warns derby is a ‘must win’ game

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall admits the Boxing Day Mid-Ulster derby at Shamrock Park is a 'must win' game for his boys.

The Ports are still hurting following successive defeats to Warrenpoint Town and Linfield. Their latest set back at Windsor Park meant they are now four points adrift of Warren Feeney's Blues at the head of the table.

"There are no easy matches in this league," said McFall. "Past results will reflect that. Every team is capable of taking points off the other on any given day.

"We've seen that right from the start of the season. I think it will be like that right until the end of the campaign.

"Games against Glenavon are traditionally very close and I expect another tough afternoon. Even though we lost at the weekend to Linfield, I though our performance merited at least a point.

"I thought we showed a lot of character to come back from going a goal down so early on. After that, I thought we were the better side and we deservedly went in front before half time.

"In fairness, Linfield were in the ascendancy in the second half . . . we give them too much time and space on the ball."

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The Ports go into the game boosted by the news they have signed Paul McElroy from Linfield. The 20-year-old former Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday player will be able to face Institute on January 5.

McFall said: "We are working off a small squad of players.

"We were without Chris Casement and Keith O'Hara through suspension and injury at Windsor and we could have been doing with their experience in such a heated atmosphere.

"It meant we were a little bit light, defensively, going into the game. When we have one or two key players missing, we really feel it."

Glenavon have snapped up centre-back Simon Kelly from Dundalk. The 29-year-old from Armagh is a tall defender who should bolster the Lurgan Blues' backline.

Kelly has agreed an 18-month contract and if his registration goes through, he will make his debut against Ballymena United on January 3.

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