Exiled Mackle back with Ports seniors

Sean Mackle has spent the past week training with Portadown firsts.
Sean Mackle has spent the past week training with Portadown firsts.

Sean Mackle’s Portadown career appears back on track after a return to first-team training.

Mackle and Mark McAllister were both axed from the senior squad earlier in the season as a disciplinary measure by manager Pat McGibbon.

Both players had been informed by McGibbon, who subsequently resigned as boss on October 14, that the Ports would listen to offers in the January transfer window.

They had been ordered to train with the club’s under 19s as the reserves and firsts work together midweek.

However, behind-the-scenes discussions resulted in Mackle taking part in training from last Thursday.

The news of the return of one of the squad’s most experienced players arrives as a boost in the aftermath of yesterday’s Irish Football Association disciplinary committee ruling against Portadown in the case of Robert Garrett’s suspension.

Ards have been awarded a 3-0 win, with the Ports fined £350 for playing Garrett last weekend despite the player under suspension. Portadown’s 3-1 win over Ards has been wiped out and interim boss Vinny Arkins’ squad visit Glentoran on a minus-three tally of points in the league table.

“Sean came back in last week and has looked good in training,” said Arkins. “He knows he still needs to improve his fitness levels but is working towards a return to selection.

“Under the circumstances we need everyone pulling in the same direction and for everyone to dig in.

“It is important that people do not listen to views from outside the club as often they do not have the best interests of Portadown at heart.

“Everyone needs to be working together, from the top of the club down and including the fans.

“The atmosphere was excellent at Shamrock Park on Saturday against Ards and that backing really makes a difference.

“We face a huge task and people must be realistic but that unity going into every match can be crucial.”

It is understood that the McAllister situation remains unresolved, with any talks taking place between senior club officials and the player.