Portadown’s Ross Redman ready for Linfield battle

Ross Redman
Ross Redman

Portadown defender Ross Redman is preparing for an “Irish Cup battle” against Linfield on Saturday.

The Ports claimed a dramatic 2-1 victory against the Blues seven days ago at Windsor Park.

Sean Mackle’s late goal earned Ronnie McFall’s men their first Premiership win in 13 years at the international stadium.

It was a grandstand finish that boosted Portadown’s European qualification hopes – while also denting Linfield’s title ambitions.

Fast forward a week and both clubs are ready to renew rivalries in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup.

It is the tie of the round as two of the Premiership’s top three clubs go toe-to-toe at Shamrock Park.

And Redman has predicted a titanic tussle when the pair collide.

“It is a massive game for both clubs. The cup is a big target for Portadown and Linfield now,” Redman said.

“Last week was a very close game at Windsor, and I think Saturday’s game at Shamrock Park will be another close one.

“The pitch at Windsor is good for free-flowing, fluid football. Shamrock isn’t as flat, so I think this game will be a battle.

“Both teams will be forced to fight and scrap and it will be a war of attrition. But we are ready.”

Redman doesn’t believe last week’s Premiership win over Linfield will have any bearing on tomorrow’s cup meeting.

“This is a new game – last week is gone now,” he added.

“It was great to get the win at Windsor. We hadn’t won in the league there since 2002 or something. So it was a big moment for us and it was good to get that monkey off our backs.

“Linfield will be smarting from that defeat. It leaves them six points behind Crusaders in the title race.

“I think it is going to be very hard to stop the Crues lifting the title. They are flying at present.

“That leaves a big battle for the European spots, and also the Irish Cup.”

Four of the current top six clubs in the Premiership remain in the Irish Cup at the quarter-final stage.

Crusaders, Portadown, Linfield and Glentoran have reached the last eight, along with Carrick Rangers, Ballymena United, Harland and Wolff Welders and Dungannon Swifts.

Redman believes this season’s competition is wide open.

“There have been some strange results in the cup. It’s all credit to the likes of Carrick Rangers and the Welders for reaching the quarter-finals.

“Anyone can win it now, and it will boil down to whoever performs on the day.

“We know we have got one of the toughest draws in the quarter-finals, but we got a home draw which was important.

“Now we have to try and make that count.”

Redman is hoping Portadown can erase the nightmare of their last appearance in an Irish Cup final.

It was back in 2010 that the Ports lost 2-1 to Linfield in the showpiece.

The club last won the trophy in 2005 when they romped to a 5-1 win over Larne – with a fresh-faced Redman watching on from the stands.

“I was in with the supporters for that one, and I played in the 2010 final. The Linfield game was a bitterly disappointing day,” he added.

“Those are the games you want to forget.

“As a player you want to win silverware, but so far all I have is a League Cup medal and a Championship title. I would love to win some more so hopefully I do that this season.”