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.
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.
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.“
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.