Portadown’s third bid for promotion back into top-flight football will be built on an improved “club culture”.
That’s the ambition of manager Matthew Tipton as he attempts to correct the setbacks of his first full season in the Shamrock Park hot-seat.
Last summer’s recruitment strategy produced a panel of players with reputations built on past glory days but Tipton, in search of signings determined to deliver future gains, is now turning to the next generation or with energy as a priority over established names.
Tipton has confirmed the captures of Stephen Teggart, Conall McGrandles, Christopher Crane and Brendan Glackin as a starting point for his revamped approach designed to improve on a campaign last season which ended in Bluefin Sport Championship play-off misery.
“Any player I select is to help the football club, regardless of age, it comes down to ability alone,” said Tipton, who also recently celebrated professional deals with Portsmouth for two bright young Ports prospects in Harry Anderson and Gerard Storey. “Of course we have had to cut the budget but finances did not prevent us from going up last year.
“Our approach coming into this campaign was always going to be determined by what went wrong last season and the budget is not a factor.
“We are trying to build a team and club culture better than in the past as I think that previously hampered us.
“Developing young players was always going to be a core part of my approach to the job, irrespective of promotion or not.
“I’m only putting so much into the focus of youth for the benefit of the club and to help us win games of football.
“Put simply, we’ve identified we are better producing our own players and bringing in younger players.
“Fans may not recognise as many of our signings this summer compared to last and it’s not about blaming individuals but what we did previously has not delivered.
“Last season the time and faith from the fans was there from day one and, as names less familiar, I know this season’s signings may prove a tougher sell to our supporters.
“But we want to assemble a squad capable of delivering a model that is better for both the short-term and long-term goals.
“We are looking at players we maybe don’t have previous connections with, so need more due-diligence in terms of the character of our signings.
“Last season we spent too long waiting for the ability on paper to translate into results on the pitch.
“Our choice is to go with a smaller squad but to create that club culture and be ready to meet the demands together.
“We still have match-winners but want to focus more on the collective strength this season.
“It is about building on the right foundations, with that trust more in the work of the unit over individuals.”