Portadown’s trophy drive extends beyond the main goal of promotion out of the Bluefin Sport Championship.
Manager Matthew Tipton celebrated the success of striker Lee Bonis in winning the Championship Player of the Month prize by setting a challenge to the forward and his team-mates for continued silverware.
Bonis’ four-goal brace across the month secured the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association-backed individual honour but Tipton is keen for internal club competition to result in external honours.
“It is brilliant recognition for Lee and a testament to his hard work since joining the club in the summer,” said Tipton. “Congratulations to Lee but now the next step is to see if he can push on to the next level and use this as motivation for future awards.
“That extends to the team, we want healthy competition across the club so others in the changing room look at what Lee has achieved and it spurs someone else on to win awards.
“To help reach our overall goals we want everyone showing that hunger for success and that is about more than just three points on a Saturday.
“We want our players striving to meet standards but then focus on the next challenge.
“Lee is a perfect example as he came in unknown to many outside the club but with a real freshness.
“He has scored goals and found a place in the side but with that early progress comes expectations - from the fans, his team-mates and opponents, so now it is about maintaining the standards set alongside that increased focus.
“The same extends to the whole squad, we got a 1-0 win late on last weekend over Dergview with 10 men thanks to Paddy McNally’s goal but had the character needed to get the result.
“Now we welcome Newry City AFC to Shamrock Park for a game between Portadown as league leaders and a visiting side tipped to bounce back from relegation.
“It is a fixture that jumps out and we want to build on our recent run of strong results with another performance built on character and confidence.”
Kick-off on Friday will be 7.45.
Bonis, who arrived at Shamrock Park from Seagoe in the Mid-Ulster Football League, was delighted to accept the Belleek individual accolade.
“It was a big step up coming to Portadown and playing in this league,” said Bonis at the presentation. “I didn’t expect to get into the first team so soon but the players have made it easier for me.
“I just try to take my chances when they come to me and it has gone well so far.
“I think we could win the Championship this year, but there’s a long way to go.”