Ronnie McFall believes the performances of Darren Murray will hold the key to the striker earning a career in full-time football – not the club he plays for.
Murray handed in a formal transfer request to Portadown on Tuesday night.
Cliftonville and Derry City have already made contact over the 23-year-old striker.
Murray told the Portadown Times that he believed the chance of a move into full-time football would be enhanced if he played for a club in Belfast.
“I have an agent in place and want to give myself the best chance at a move, but it seems for that to happen, I need to be at a Belfast club,” he said.
Responding to Murray’s transfer request, Ports boss McFall said: “The simple fact is Darren is not for sale. He is under contract for another two years and we want to keep our best players.
“He emailed the request to the chairman and me on Tuesday night.
“It doesn’t matter where Darren is playing. If he is good enough then clubs will come knocking.
“Joe Gormley went to Peterborough because he scored 41 goals last season, not because he played for Cliftonville.”
McFall is confident Murray will remain a Portadown player next season, and insists it is up to the player to prove his quality.
“Darren had a disappointing season last year which was impacted by injuries and suspensions,” McFall added.
“Hopefully he comes back fit and raring to go when we return to training on Saturday. It is up to him to prove his quality and do what he does best – score goals.
“If he does that and performs to a high standard then you never know what the future will hold for him.
“But he is not for sale now.”
McFall has also issued a ‘hands-off’ warning to any clubs pursuing striker Gary Twigg.
Linfield have made contact over the availability of the Scottish hit-man.
“The same message applies – he is not for sale,” said McFall.