Portadown’s Matthew Tipton concerned with points on the table not miles on the map ahead of Loughgall derby
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton has his focus on long-term glory over short-term geography.
The Bluefin Sport Championship league leaders host third-place Loughgall on Saturday in a derby date with both points and pride sharing the spotlight.
Victory would hand Loughgall the local bragging rights but also allow the Villagers to cut the gap on Portadown to three points having played one game fewer.
Loughgall’s consistent run of results as the surprise package over the first half of the league season adds extra weight to the weekend clash but Ports boss Tipton is refusing to turn his attention away from the grand prize.
“Our priority is to get out of the division and back up into the Danske Bank Premiership so our objective is that beyond any one result, no matter who it is against or how close we stand in terms of miles,” said Tipton. “Because of that, my concern is on the fact first plays third and the impact of Saturday’s result on the table, not it is a derby.
“We can expect a good game and obviously Loughgall’s form has been so strong this season but they come into it off the back of a defeat to Knockbreda and we must expect a reaction.
“The fact it is a derby should attract a bigger crowd and help add to the atmosphere but, from our viewpoint, we have to learn to cope with that kind of situation.
“We want to achieve the level of consistency in our own performances that means it does not matter if it is a derby or any league game.
“Our approach remains the same irrespective of the opposition, bar any tactical tweaks,
“The incentive or challenge is about facing a team so close to us in the league table, not about facing a team so close to us on the map.
“If we can attain the right standard no matter the opposition then that shows our mental strength on top of the ability.”