Portadown boss Ronnie McFall has warned his players that a big response is needed ahead of Monday night’s Setanta Cup clash with Drogheda United.
The Ports, who trail 3-2 from the first leg, are expected to be without several key players including Gary Twigg, Keith O’Hara, Brian Gartland and Chris Casement.
All four missed Saturday’s Mid-Ulster derby at Stangmore Park, where McFall’s side were outplayed by Dungannon Swifts.
It was a performance which McFall branded “embarrassing”, and he admits major improvement is needed if they are to progress in the All-Ireland competition.
“There is still all to play for against Drogheda so we will give it a go,” he said.
“However, there needs to be a massive improvement on today’s performance, which was an embarrassment.
“You need to have hunger and desire, and we didn’t show any today.”
Just like the last two games, Dungannon made a bright start and took a first half lead. However, this time, they managed to stay in front.
They should have gone ahead inside the first 60 seconds with Cameron Grieve, Matt Hazley and Ryan Harpur all seeing efforts blocked on the line.
They edged ahead in the 28th minute when ex-Portadown player Johnny Topley headed home a cross from Michael McKerr.
And Dungannon wrapped up the points just before the hour mark when Chris Ramsey turned home another superb cross from McKerr.
McFall was deeply unhappy with his side’s display.
“Dungannon deserved to win – they were far hungrier and showed more determination,” he added.
“We’ve been up and down all season. One match we go out and play well, the next week we don’t, but that is as poor as I’ve seen us.”
McFall confirmed that Gary Breen, who limped off against Dungannon, is expected to miss tonight’s tie along with the other four who sat out Saturday’s game.
“Twigg is out, Casement is out, so too O’Hara and Gartland. Gary Breen came off with a hamstring problem and he’s out as well,” he added.
“A 1-0 or 2-1 win would do us, and there is no doubt we can turn it around. But we need to show more hunger and desire than today.”
Dungannon boss Darren Murphy was delighted with his side’s response after back to back defeats in the past fortnight.
“I asked the players for a response and I got it,” he said. “We need hard work and an honest shift every week, and today I got that from each player.
“Some of the players put in as good a performance as I have seen in a Dungannon Swifts jersey.
“We were hungrier. Overall I’m very happy with our performance.”