Belfast Telegraph

McFall believes Portadown owe resurgence to key trio

By Stuart McKinley

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall has pinpointed three key elements as the reasons for his team's revival.

The Ports lost five games in a row in late October and early November, but finished last month by taking seven points out of a possible nine.

And it is no coincidence that those results have come at the same time as Ken Oman and captain Keith O'Hara returned to the centre of defence and Chris Casement moved forward from right-back to a wide position.

Oman sparked the revival when, after scoring earlier in the game, he netted the late winner to complete a dramatic comeback against Carrick Rangers three weeks ago and the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international snuffed out the threat from Linfield as the Ports beat the Blues 2-0 last weekend and recorded only their second league clean sheet of the season as he shows his best form since signing in January.

McFall said: "Ken Oman has been an outstanding centre-half in the League of Ireland for a number of years.

"Not only is he a good player, he is also a leader, which is what we need.

"He talks and organises other people around him and he's done that for us basically since he came.

"The problems with signing guys from down south is that by the time they can play in January they haven't done anything for three months, so it's always going to be the following year before you get the best out of them. We knew that when we signed him.

"Keith O'Hara has come back in too, another experienced player and a winner as well - and another leader which is what we need in the situation we're in."

Casement - who was a centre-half in his younger days before developing into a classy right-back at Shamrock Park - has shown that there is a further string to his bow by impressing on the wing in recent games and after capping an impressive performance against Linfield with a well taken goal, he could now be utilised in that position long-term.

"We are short of wide players so we've pushed Casement further forward and I thought he was outstanding against Linfield," said McFall.

"He scored one and could have scored another couple. He is quick and he is a tremendous striker of a ball. He gives you a tremendous delivery when he wraps that right foot around it and he had the fitness to get up and down."

The Ports face Warrenpoint Town tomorrow afternoon and although the Milltown men are rooted to the bottom of the table, they have only suffered one defeat in their last five games against McFall's side.

"We won't be looking at Warrenpoint and expect to pick up three points, not after the run that we've been on," said McFall.

"It'll be a tough game against Warrenpoint, they are fighting for their lives and we never get it easy against them home or away, but I don't believe in bogey teams.

"If you are good enough you win. Sometimes things go for you, sometimes they don't, so hopefully things are starting to go for us now."

The Ports' injury situation is easing only slightly. Winger Peter McMahon had a cortisone injection in a bid to heel a groin problem this week and Mark McAllister is due to see a specialist about his back complaint.

Belfast Telegraph


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