Belfast Telegraph

Portadown will be a loss to Premiership but we'll do them no favours, says McAree

By Adrian Rutherford

Rodney McAree admits he is saddened by the plight of Mid-Ulster neighbours Portadown.

But the Dungannon Swifts boss won't have any hesitation in heaping the misery on the Premiership's basement boys this weekend.

The Ports could be relegated tomorrow if the Swifts win at Shamrock Park and Carrick Rangers get the better of Glentoran in this evening's clash at The Oval.

Yet whatever happens, it seems only a matter of time before the once-mighty Mid-Ulster club is consigned to Championship football.

McAree admits it would be a massive blow to the Irish League if the Ports do not pull off the greatest of escapes in the coming weeks.

"They bring an awful lot to the game in terms of the support that they have got," he said.

"For us it's an away team coming to Dungannon that always bring a big crowd.

"Hopefully they can turn it around but, on the other hand, I hope we get three points on Saturday. We can't show any emotion.

"Seventh spot for us come the end of the season is absolutely massive."

Portadown were handed a 12-point deduction for a registration breach involving Peter McMahon, who now plays for Dungannon, and suffered a further three-point loss for fielding Robert Garrett when he should have been suspended in a victory over Ards - while another dispute saw their opening day fixture with Coleraine awarded as a 3-0 victory to the Bannsiders.

They trail second-bottom Carrick by 14 points with just 18 left to play for, yet McAree is expecting a tough game having seen his side lose 2-0 on their last visit to Shamrock Park.

"It will be very difficult because they are still fighting for their lives and, until it is mathematically impossible, they will be trying to pick up points," he added.

"We have to go and be very focused on what we have to do.

"The last time we went to Portadown in the league it was unacceptable - we were poor and we didn't do well.

"We have to make sure we are ready for the fight and the challenge that lies ahead and try to leave with three points."

Dungannon drew 2-2 against Cliftonville last time out, as their winless run in the league continued. It saw Glentoran close the gap in the chase for seventh, which brings a play-off for European football.

McAree added: "Glentoran have closed the gap so we have to get back to winning ways.

"We have to build on the performance we produced against Cliftonville and try and get a positive result."

Belfast Telegraph

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