IRISH LEAGUE: Crusaders midfielder Richard Clarke prepared for Portadown battle

Richard Clarke
Richard Clarke

Crusaders midfielder Richard Clarke has warned of the pitfalls that lie in wait against “wounded” Portadown on Saturday afternoon.

The Ports handed manager Ronnie McFall a vote of confidence on Friday following a poor start to the season.

They sit seventh in the Danske Bank Premiership, and a hefty 13 points behind Clarke’s Crusaders in the table.

McFall’s side have lost their last four games in all competitions, but can boast a decent record against the Crues.

They have won four of their last five meetings with Stephen Baxter’s men, including a 2-1 victory on the opening day of the season.

“Portadown still have a lot of quality and they will probably fancy a game like this to hit back,” said Clarke.

“If we go down there thinking it will be an easy game, we are in big trouble.

“It is always tough down at Shamrock Park, so if we want to stay on the tails of Linfield at the top of the table, we know we’re going to have to produce a big performance.”

Crusaders are also on the rebound following a 2-0 defeat to Ballymena United in the County Antrim Shield.

“It was disappointing, but our aim now is to put that result behind us and refocus on where we want to go as a team. I’m confident we can do that,” Clarke added.

SATURDAY’S FIXTURES (3PM): Carrick Rangers v Ballymena Utd, Cliftonville v Glenavon, Dungannon v Linfield, Glentoran v Coleraine, Portadown v Crusaders.