Transfer target Lee Bonis in spotlight as Portadown bid for Shamrock Park first

Portadown’s Irish Cup preparations this week have included Lee Bonis despite increased transfer interest from Glentoran and Larne.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 10:15 pm

The knockout test against Limavady United at Shamrock Park may provide home fans with a final glimpse of Bonis as a Portadown player.

It is understood both the Glens and Larne stepped up efforts in recent days to take captain and star striker Bonis from his hometown club.

Irish League sources indicate Glentoran proved the early front-runners with a package built around cash plus players but Larne appear now leading the race for the 22-year-old thanks to a six-figure bid.

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Portadown manager Matthew Tipton (left) with Lee Bonis. Pic by Pacemaker.

The visit of a Limavady side operating two divisions below top-flight Ports presents a chance for Irish Cup progress and a welcome first weekend win this season on home soil across all competitions.

With victory the priority for Tipton, he would only maintain the club stance in place from the start of transfer speculation surrounding Bonis.

“As it stands, Lee is a Portadown player and available for selection,” said Tipton.

Fans may walk into Shamrock Park this weekend with the spotlight on Bonis as a current player but the tie should serve up supporters a first glimpse of potential future favourites.

The Ports kicked off the January transfer window by bringing in Howard Beverland, Jamal Dupree and Jack Smith - with other signings expected in a bid to strengthen the squad for a second half of a campaign in which Tipton’s target is a climb out of the Premiership relegation zone.

“Howard and Jamal are eligible to play but Jack is cup-tied,” said Tipton. “First and foremost, we want to be in the hat for the next round and need to get a win under our belts.

“A win is the priority for me as manager over 90 minutes, then it is about looking at any other benefits in terms of financial gain from cup progress or a boost in confidence.

“We’ve not had a league win at Shamrock Park this season and had some midweek wins in other cups but not on a Saturday in front of our own fans.

“You’ve got to accept coming out of any cup draw with home advantage and a game against lower-league opposition.

“We’ve not had the same chance as normal to gather information on Limavady in preparation because of the festive period and games off.

“But we certainly have done as much homework as possible and will obviously give Limavady plenty of respect.“


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