Paul Doolin views ‘crash course in coaching’ part of Portadown relegation fight

Manager Paul Doolin views Portadown’s fight for senior survival ‘a crash course in coaching’ as a derby day to forget on Saturday pushed the club one step closer to Premiership relegation.

Doolin made history during a celebrated Portadown playing career in the 1990s but success this season in beating the drop would arguably mark his greatest achievement at the club given current circumstances.

Facing a firefighting mission with his appointment last month until the end of the season, Doolin is now looking at a lead over basement-based Warrenpoint Town cut to two points in the table thanks to weekend results.

Injuries before the break to Barney McKeown and goalkeeper Jethren Barr plus a second-half red card for Katlego Mashigo all served as setbacks within an afternoon of Mourneview Park misery.

Portadown manager Paul Doolin during Saturday’s derby defeat. Pic by Pacemaker.

Glenavon hit half-time clear by 3-0 and Doolin was left to count the cost of rising problems with time running out.

“We’re not blind, we can see we had a five-point gap and now it’s two, plus Warrenpoint have a game in hand on Tuesday...we’re well aware of it,” said Doolin. “I knew coming in it was a big job...when you look at our squad it’s a very young squad and they’re only finding their feet in this league, which is not easy to do.

“It’s like a crash course in coaching to try and get results.

“No-one gives you a job when second in the table...second from bottom they will.

“Suspensions and sending offs don’t help.

“I don’t think you can accept the first half at all but the second you can take something from it that we could maybe do something with.

“In the first half they just got on top of us and were too strong.

“It was unlike the other night (Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Glentoran) and I’m not sure if two games (so close) is a lot for us.

“It’s not the first time we’ve had good results (like Glentoran) then not done it in the next game and that consistency issue is why the club is where it is.

“Glenavon just seemed to start better and were first to the ball...but I still think the two set-pieces were two goals that could have been avoided.

“We didn’t have any chances probably in the first half but I felt in the second half, even with the 10 men, we were better than we were in the whole of the first half, being honest.

“Glenavon is a team that’s playing together a while, we’re not - we’ve had to change the team around.

“We cannot afford to have any players not available to us.

“Glenavon are aggressive and strong at the back and it’s a lot for young Oisin Conaty...hindsight is great and maybe we might have started Elliott (Dugan, one of two substitutes introduced at the start of the second half).

“The positive thing was I felt in the second half we did okay but the first two goals were off two set-pieces.

“All we can do is to keep on going and see what happens.”

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