IRISH LEAGUE: Niall Currie confirmed as Portadown manager

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Niall Currie has described a return home to Portadown as the ‘pinnacle’ of his career in Irish League management.

Currie’s move to Shamrock Park from Ards was confirmed on Monday night by Portadown and he expressed both his pride at the opportunity and passion for the challenge to rescue the top-flight’s basement side.

Niall Currie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Niall Currie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown sit on a minus-one tally of points in the Danske Bank Premiership following disciplinary issues and Currie’s priority will be on a rescue mission to protect the club from relegation.

However, the Portadown-born boss is also looking for long-term progress and emphasised a desire to embrace the youth development system.

“I am proud and excited at what I consider my dream job and what is going to be the pinnacle of my career,” said Currie. “I set out in management about 11 or 12 years ago and it means so much to be manager of a club I cheered as a boy from the terraces.

“People may think I am mad to be leaving Ards but this is about following my heart and I knew I would always regret it if I never grabbed the opportunity.

“I live and work in Portadown so am well aware of the frustrations around the club over the past few years.

“It is about putting a smile back on the faces of our fans.”

Currie is the most successful manager in the game at Championship level, having won two titles apiece with Ards and Loughgall. However, he is refusing to accept defeat in the battle to beat the drop.

“I am realistic about the challenge ahead and the odds may look against us but I come into Portadown with the belief I can rejuvenate the club,” said Currie. “We still have real quality on the books and some wonderful young players coming up the ranks.

“January is going to be a massive transfer window but I know this level and am confident we can bring in players capable of adding to the group.

“There is quality out there, players who deserve a chance at playing at the highest level.

“The timescale may be tough but I have built my career on going into clubs and rebuilding, from Annagh United to Loughgall to Ards.

“This may be the biggest test I can face but the goal is to get everyone working together and moving forward.

“We have a small squad but confidence is crucial and my first aim will be to get to know what makes each player tick.

“I have never been scared of a challenge.”

Currie has arrived from Ards with long-term assistant Jay Willis, who is also from the area. Ports coach Trevor Williamson will remain on board and Currie has confirmed plans to add another name to the backroom team.

Portadown will kick off the Currie era on Saturday at Cliftonville.