IRISH LEAGUE: Portadown boss Niall Currie calls out to fans ahead of home debut

Niall Currie will take charge of his first home game as Portadown manager on Saturday.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Niall Currie will take charge of his first home game as Portadown manager on Saturday. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
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Niall Currie will walk out at Shamrock Park as Portadown manager for the first time this weekend - but he’s keen to turn fans’ attention to the players.

Currie joined his boyhood club as boss last week in an appointment which has been met with widespread backing from the Portadown fanbase.

A warm welcome is expected on Saturday when Currie and assistant manager Jay Willis, another local, step out for home debuts against Dungannon Swifts.

However, Currie is keen for the spotlight to switch away from his return home and instead focus on backing the players’ bid to beat the drop out of the Danske Bank Premiership.

“I am looking forward to it of course and have enjoyed everything so far, with the reception wonderful from everyone around the club,” said the former Ards boss. “But I am also keen to move on from that side of it as we need to put all our efforts into saving this season.

“We need to try to use every single edge possible to get out of trouble, so I would urge the fans to turn any vocal support towards the players more than me or Jay.”

Portadown will, of course, be without defender Ken Oman, who begins his six match ban while Sean Mackle and Alan Byrne will be sidelined with injury and Sam Simpson is unavailable.

Rock-bottom Ports have picked up just one win in their last 14 league outings and on Saturday will be up against the Premiership’s top scorer in Andrew Mitchell, who has netted 14 league goals for Rodney McAree’s Swifts this term.

He has helped Dungannon to three wins from their last four league outings - scoring four goals in the process.

As if that wasn’t enough reasons for the Ports to be wary of the former Glenavon striker, here’s another one.

The Swifts have won all of the last four meetings between the two teams and, surprise, surprise, Mitchell has been much to thank. He has scored five goals along the way.

Kick-off at Shamrock Park will be at 3 o’clock.