Portadown have kicked off their hunt for a new manager after parting company with Matthew Tipton in a move that has surprised some supporters.
Early names being suggested as candidates for the job are former Northern Ireland striker Warren Feeney, who is considering his next career move after returning home from a spell in charge of Bulgarian side OFC Pirin Blagoevgrad, and Jim Magilton, who is hungry to return to football after taking time off following his role as Dundalk sporting director.
Newry City boss Darren Mullen has earned praise after guiding Newry City to the top of the Lough 41 Championship but he may prefer to stay in his post with the promotion chasers.
Portadown say they are inviting expressions of interest for the vacant manager’s role.
A statement issued by the club said the board of directors had met with Tipton and “both have agreed a mutual parting of ways with immediate effect”.
The 41-year-old left his job as Warrenpoint Town boss to take over at Shamrock Park in February 2018 but the club is now fighting for it’s top flight survival, languishing in 11th place.
The club added: “We would like to thank Matthew for his hard work and dedication to the role and wish him all the best in his future endeavours
“A further coaching update will follow in due course.”
Former Ports, Linfield and Ballymena United striker Tipton had signed a five-year contract extension in May and was in the process of strengthening the side following the £100,000 sale of frontman Lee Bonis to Larne.
But Portadown chiefs felt the club was moving in the wrong direction and needed to act.
Tipton was informed yesterday his services were surplus to requirements.
One fan commented yesterday: “Bizarre. We’re not in a great position but selling our best asset then backing the manager on half a dozen signings only to get rid of him before one of them has even played doesn’t really add up to me.” Another surprised supporter added: “Terrible decision, really is. It’s easy to look at the table and think failure but this club was really in a state when he took over and look at how he’s rebuilt the team. We aren’t amazing, granted, but why panic like this and who the hell can come in and impact?”
The Ports have won two of their 23 league games this season and Saturday’s 3-1 loss to fellow strugglers Dungannon Swifts leaves them seven points adrift of safety.
Portadown host Crusaders at Shamrock Park tomorrow night, then visit Larne in Saturday’s evening kick-off.