Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy admits football has become a “side issue” following the tragic death of the wife of former teammate Garth Scates.
Lesley Scates passed away on Wednesday as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident last week.
The mother-of-two – whose funeral service will be held on Monday – was in her thirties.
Swifts manager Murphy admits the death of the former North Down hockey player has put sport into perspective.
“Football has become a side issue this week. It is hard to imagine what Garth and the wider family circle are going through at this time,” Murphy said.
“It has been a very difficult week which has impacted on a lot of people in local football.
“I played with Garth at Linfield and Ballymena and he is a great lad. For this to happen is just tragic and all our thoughts and prayers are with the Scates family at this time.
“Thankfully the football family is a very close one, and at times like these it rallies together. Hopefully that can give Garth some comfort at this time. But it is just hard to comprehend.
“We had a lot of good times at Linfield, and the players’ wives were part of the family at Windsor Park.
“So for this to happen is just tragic.”
Dungannon go into Saturday’s derby showdown with Portadown looking to inject some fresh impetus into their season.
Following an encouraging opening to the year, the Stangmore Park outfit have won just one of their last six Premiership fixtures.
Portadown are also in the midst of a mini-crisis of their own, having picked up just one point from their last three games.
“It is a game between two sides who are struggling at present,” Murphy said.
“We have had a tough run recently. We played Cliftonville, Glentoran and Linfield on the bounce, and then gave away three poor goals to Ballymena last week.
“I think after the tough run of games, we suffered a wee bit of a hangover against Ballymena
“So we are hoping for a response.
“I am sure Portadown will be saying the same, so it all points to an entertaining game.”