Portadown boss Matthew Tipton calls for fans’ return

Portadown boss Matthew Tipton has made an impassioned plea for supporters to be allowed to return for the final month of the Irish League season.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 6:00 am

Fans are still not permitted to attend games despite a number of Covid restrictions being relaxed by the NI executive in recent weeks.

The season is set to come to a conclusion in May with the final games of the Danske Bank Premiership being played along with the Irish Cup.

Tipton believes the return of fans for these games would give everyone a big boost.

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Irish League stadiums have been empty this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“For me now this is where fans would help,” he said.

“If we had fans in the ground against Cliftonville on Saturday looking for a goal with 10 minutes to go then we are pushing on because they will drive us on.

“It puts pressure on the opposition and the referee as there will be fouls and everyone is up instead of maybe four directors.

“I’m not appealing for fans to come back just so we can get a decision in the last minute, but it would give everyone a boost for the last month of the season, both fans and players.

“Truth be told the bottom six matches for four of the teams are pretty much worth nothing.

“Of course I will motivate our players as best as I can, but I understand players’ psychology will be that they are pretty much on the beach,” Tipton added.

“We will knock that out of them as much as we can because obviously there’s still the Irish Cup games as well.”

The Ports are determined to finish the season on a high and have ninth placed Warrenpoint Town in their sights.

They are three points off Barry Gray’s side with seven games to go, including Tuesday’s game at home to Larne.

“It’s a target for us now, you always want to overtake the team in front of you,” Tipton said.

“A month ago it looked miles away but we have turned things around a bit.

“We will be giving everything we can to finish as high up the table as possible.”

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