Belfast Telegraph

Vinny Arkins: it’s vital that new Portadown boss is a born winner

Portadown 0 Crusaders 1

By Stuart McKinley

Vinny Arkins has urged the Portadown board to appoint ‘a winner’ as the club’s new manager as he prepares to hand over the reins.

Thrust into the hotseat last month after Pat McGibbon’s departure, Arkins had overseen a three-match unbeaten run prior to Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Crusaders, but that could be his last game as the club know they need a long-term appointment soon.

The board are scheduled to meet this week to make plans for the future as they are aware that Arkins can’t be given the job on a permanent basis as he doesn’t have the Uefa A coaching licence that is required to manage in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The halfway stage of the 60-day grace period for an unqualified caretaker has come and gone and with no possibility of getting onto an A Licence course until at least January, but more likely the end of the season, at most Arkins has four more games in charge.

While the post hasn’t been advertised it is understood that a number of candidates have expressed an interest and if decisive action is made this week, the Crusaders game could be the end of Arkins’ temporary tenure.

“I would like whoever is going to come in, as well as taking the club forward — it’s taken a few years to self destruct and it will take a few years to put the club back together — the one thing I would ask everyone who is involved is that whoever comes in as manager has to be a winner, because football matches are about winning,” said Arkins.

“I would like to stay, I have a good rapport with the players, but I’ve looked up courses and realistically it’s going to be the summer before I can get on one.

“It’s a hard decision for everyone. I didn’t envisage being in this situation. I came in to help Pat and this has been thrown upon me. It’ll be something I will look at. I will speak to the board and see what direction they want to head, but whoever gets the job, I would realistically like to see someone who wants to win.

“There are lots of people around who would like the trophy job of being Portadown manager — maybe not in the situation we’re in — but whoever it is has to be a winner.”

Arkins has proved to be a winner as a boss, guiding the Ports to back-to-back wins against Ards and Ballinamallard United before drawing with Glentoran last weekend.

Without forcing Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O’Neill into a meaningful save, the best they were going to get against the champions and league leaders was another draw — and for almost three quarters of the game it looked like that would be how it would finish.

That was until Ken Oman came through the back of Jordan Owens on 66 minutes and Gavin Whyte stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

Crues boss Stephen Baxter said: “We knew it was going to be difficult because Portadown have had a couple of decent results and they have good leaders.

“We had to find a way around that — and we did. I’m pleased that we eked out a chance because that’s all we need. If you get one then you have to ask the opposition to score, and they didn’t do that.”

PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Carson, Byrne, O’Hara, Oman (Breen, 75 mins), Parker, Shannon, Henderson (Mackle, 75 mins), Garrett, Hughes (Kirwan, 82 mins), Haire. Unused subs: Larkin, Wilson.

CRUSADERS: O’Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, McClean, Clarke (Gault, 76 mins), Forsythe, Carvill, White, Owens, Heatley (Cushley, 88 mins). Unused subs: Dougherty, Mitchell, Soares.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)

Man of the match: Paul Heatley

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph

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