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Ports duo leaving Braniff on the bench

By Stuart McKinley

Kevin Braniff will be happy to wait for his chance at Portadown, because if he's not in the team that will mean that Gary McCutcheon and Allan Smart are keeping the Ports in the race for the Championship.

Braniff watched from the stand as Smart's injury-time header beat Glentoran on Saturday to blow the title race wide open at the halfway stage.

That goal is likely to mean only a place on the bench for the former Millwall man when he becomes available to Ronnie McFall for the first time this afternoon against Cliftonville at Shamrock Park.

Former under-21 international Braniff was brought in on a three-and-a-half year contract to add firepower to the Ports' title bid, but McCutcheon and Smart are hitting the net again, so patience may be the watchword for the west Belfast man over the next few weeks.

"I can't wait to get playing again after a difficult time at Millwall," he said.

"When the new manager came in it was obvious straightaway that I wasn't going to figure and I had decided that I wanted to come home.

"While I was trying to sort out my release from Millwall, Ronnie McFall was on the phone to me and I thought signing for Portadown would be a good move.

"It is a few weeks since I signed and now with the transfer window open I can finally play.

"I was at the Glentoran match on Saturday and enjoyed watching it and now I can't wait to play.

"It was the first time I have ever watched an Irish League game and I thought the standard was pretty good.

"I was pleasantly surprised and now I can't wait to get going and hopefully do well for Portadown.

"I don't know if I will get into the team yet though. Allan Smart has scored a couple of goals lately and Gary McCutcheon has been on-form too.

"It is good for the team if they are scoring goals and if I have to wait my chance then it is a reflection of how well the team is doing."

Braniff doesn't want to be sitting on the bench for too long though, after occupying that kind of role for most of his time at Millwall, as well as being a regular reserve either side of a loan spell at Rushden & Diamonds.

"I want to play though after what was a tough time at Millwall," he said.

"I think in my whole time there under different managers the most I ever got was six games in a row.

"I want to get into the Portadown team as quickly as I can and then hopefully I can get some goals and you never know where we might end up."

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