IRISH LEAGUE: Currie’s rally cry as he puts plans in place for Ports future

Portadown manager Niall Currie following the recent 3-0 defeat by Ards. Pic by Pacemaker.
Portadown manager Niall Currie following the recent 3-0 defeat by Ards. Pic by Pacemaker.

Niall Currie has launched a staunch defence of both his credentials as manager and transfer market trading.

The Ports boss is backing a track record in the Irish League dug-out and desire to rejuvenate his hometown club as reasons for faith in the future.

Portadown sit as the top-flight’s bottom club with time running out for a miracle relegation rescue mission.

The black-and-white facts serve up a grim picture for the Ports but Currie is adamant he can steer the club towards a bright future.

Plans are already in place for progress past this season as Currie aims to reshape the squad by the dual tools of internal development and external deals.

“I accept fans may judge my record as a manager before coming to this club and maybe dismiss previous achievements as just Championship standard,” he said. “But I feel I managed to learn lessons from my first season in the Premiership with Ards and left that club last year to come here determined to get Portadown back to the right standard.

“I left Ards only a few wins away from safety in December and will back my track record to take on this job at Portadown.

“One of the positives at the club is the hard work going on to develop young players and that is certainly something we want to build on at senior level over the rest of the season.

“We will introduce younger players with a view to next season and beyond, as my planning is reshaping the squad from inside and over the transfer period.

“Any January window can be a gamble and the transfer restrictions preventing us from signing players on professional terms really hits hard and limits our options.

“But I will back the players I have signed as some of the best amateurs around and the deals have been done to try and get something out of this season but also especially looking to the future.

“The motivation for our recent signings is the opportunity to gain the reward of a professional contract down the line at Portadown and the Championship pedigree of most will help us in the future.

“We can expect a few hard months before the end of the season but a lot will change in the summer.”

Currie is convinced he can restore Portadown to a force in Irish League football over time.

“This is a different situation to any I have experienced over my previous jobs in management and, as a result, it is taking time to deal with so many issues beyond the standard,” said Currie. “But the reality is it will take time, more than I probably felt before I arrived but I am fully committed to the long-term project.

“The only reason I left Ards was because I felt I could return Portadown to the level of competing again in Europe and for big trophies.

“I maintain the squad is in a better shape now than when I arrived and people are working hard behind the scenes for the future of the club.

“All we can do is to keep on going until the end of the season then look at everything in the summer and put our next set of plans in place.

“I am willing to be judged when the bulk of the squad is available for selection over time and certainly the lack of consistency has been a problem, especially in defence as that forms the foundation on which you build the team.

“Various circumstances have not helped our efforts but my focus is past this season and there is still much to play for now to get things in place for the future.

“My plans are based on not just this season or next but past that point and the chance to really compete with other Premiership clubs on a level playing field.”