PORTADOWN boss Ronnie McFall admits it’s ‘advantage Glentoran’ ahead of tonight’s Co-Operative Insurance Cup semi final at the Oval.
McFall is unhappy that the first team out of the bag in the semi final draw was handed a home fixture.
“Any team playing at home gains an advantage, there is no question about that,” he said. “The semis should have been played on a home and away basis – or at a neutral venue in a one-off fixture.
“It’s the first time we have gone down this road in the tournament – I don’t know the reason why, but there is no doubt, the team playing at home starts with an advantage.”
McFall is boosted by the return of talisman Kevin Braniff. The Northern Ireland international (pictured right) has completed a two game suspension and is again raring to go in this winner-takes-all affair.
The Ports, however, are deprived of the services of midfielder Shane McCabe, who is banned, while his midfield colleague Tim Mouncey is struggling with a knee injury.
New boy, Aaron Hogg is also cup-tied, having appeared for Crusaders in an earlier round prior to his move to Shamrock Park.
Sean Mackle emerged the Portadown hero at the weekend, bagging two goals against basement battlers Newry.
“Sean has a great attitude and can play in a number of positions – right back, right wing, or in the centre of midfielder where he has been operating recently,” said McFall.
Meanwhile, ace predator Mattie Burrows his hoping to shrug off illness in time for tonight’s clash.
The 25 year old was forced out of Monday’s night training session. With striker Richard Gibson cup-tied, manager Scott Young admits he may be forced to reshuffle his pack.
“Mattie was quite ill and failed to turn up for training,” said Young. “Big Richard has already played for Ballymena in the tournament, so we could have problems there.”