Matthew Tipton considers Portadown’s first defeat of the season as the final wake-up for his under-performing squad.
The Ports collapsed to a 4-0 home defeat on Saturday against Dundela as the surprise package of the Bluefin Sport Championship campaign left Tipton’s highly-rated panel searching for answers.
Preparations this week have centred on a league game back on home soil this Saturday when Ballinamallard United come to town, plus Tuesday’s BetMcLean League Cup quarter-final at Newry City AFC.
Opportunities over league and cup inside four days present Tipton a chance to reshuffle the pack in search of solutions to issues he feels have disrupted progress.
“It is still our first defeat but will hopefully serve as a wake-up call because the performance levels have not been up to what we want, even if results look positive,” said Tipton. “I’ve always told players to trust they will keep the shirt if the team is winning but now that is no longer the case we can look at giving others a chance.
“Darren Murray is obviously suspended now after his red card last weekend, so that is one enforced change but there will be others.
“It is not a kneejerk reaction as last week’s game has gone and we only focus on moving forward.
“But it is about players on the pitch delivering what we ask on a consistent basis.
“We altered the tactics but ultimately it is not about formations or systems, our issue is not following the gameplan all the time.
“I forgive players losing possession as that happens when you demand a lot of the ball, plus I forgive players having a bad day as no-one goes out not to try.
“But the problem comes when a player then stops doing what we work on and it is not about asking anything they cannot produce.”
Tipton’s return to the club he served with success as a striker was designed to match the promotion success achieved as manager of Warrenpoint Town’s title-winning second-tier side.
He retains his faith in a squad rebuilt over the summer with that promotion goal in mind.
“It is not arrogance or being naive to feel our methods work if you follow the instructions and we have the right squad at the club,” said Tipton. “We produce in periods of games and training but consistency is the way we can get the results from the high-tempo passing game we demand.
“Working hard alone is not enough, in fact that is a given for me, the difference comes when you work smarter and focus on our gameplan.”