Portadown star Murray targets Europe

Coleraine's Howard Beverlsand and Portadown's Darren Murray
Coleraine's Howard Beverlsand and Portadown's Darren Murray

Portadown striker Darren Murray has set himself a couple of targets this season - 30 goals for himself and European qualification for the Ports.

And the former Donegal Celtic man is closing in on both following Saturday’s 3-2 win at Coleraine.

Murray put in a five-star performance, scoring one and setting up two as the Shamrock Park outfit twice battled back from a goal down to seal the win which takes them up to third place in the table.

“It was a good day all round for me,” said the striker after the game.” My goal has moved all over the place and caught the keeper out. I don’t know if the wind caught it or not but as as long as it goes into the back of the net I’m not really worried.

“I was pleased with how I played throughout the game, but the main thing was for us to pick up the three points and keep climbing up the table as we want to qualify for Europe.

“It’s such a massive boost for a club to get into Europe, especially financially, but as a player you want to be playing at the highest level you can and European football gives you that opportunity.

“I always set myself targets at the start of the season. Last season I targeted 20 goals and this season it was 30, so I’m closing in on that.”

Murray struck the vital third goal for the Ports and boss Ronnie McFall was full of praise for him afterwards.

“Darren has been in excellent form for us this season,” said McFall. “He’s only 22, he is a big physical presence but he also has a great touch about him and he can finish as well.

“That’s 20 league goals he’s got for us this season, which is a very good return so far. He is a top drawer player and he is getting better every game, we are delighted to have him here.”

McFall was delighted with the response his players showed after last week’s disappointment at Glenavon.

“At this time of the season it’s all about showing the character needed to get you the three points,” said McFall. “The pitches are heavy and teams are fighting for honours or survival so you have to dig in and get the results.

“We didn’t turn up against Glenavon.

“But today we showed character and attitude in abundance to pick up a very good three points.”

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney was disappointed his side let a winning position slip again.

“Unfortunately that has happened to us a few times this season.

“We have worked hard to get ourselves into a good position but end up with nothing to show for our efforts. It was very disappointing but we have to move on,” he said