Ronnie McFall boosted by availability of Paul McElroy for Portadown

Paul McElroy is available for Portadown
Paul McElroy is available for Portadown

New boy Paul McElroy will be added to the Portadown squad for Monday night’s Premiership clash against struggling Institute at Shamrock Park.

Manager Ronnie McFall swooped for McElroy, formerly with Sheffield and Hull City, when he was made available by Linfield, even though the midfielder was strongly tipped to move to Dungannon Swifts.

“I tried to sign Paul in the summer, but just hadn’t the finance available,” said McFall.

“Emmet Friars left the club on the last day of the transfer window, so we did not have the funds to sign anyone else.

“Paul trained with us in the summer. He is versatile and is capable of playing any position along the left or even in the centre and off a striker.

“It will prove our only piece of business unless we lose a player to free up the budget.”

Goalkeeper David Miskelly is available for the Ports after serving an automatic one game ban, due to his dismissal against Glenavon, but deputy Billy Brennan kept a clean sheet in last week’s win over Coleraine and my well hold on to the shirt.

Defender Keith O’Hara again missed out due to a hip problem.

McFall added: “We certainly miss his leadership and experience but I have belief in the squad’s mental strength for the second half of the season. It’s important to pick up three points against an Institute side scrapping for their lives at the bottom.”

Institute boss Paul Kee has brought back Darren McFadden from junior soccer and signed Peter Bradley from Scottish Annan Athletic. But both must wait on their debut.

Dean Curry, who sustained a serious head injury in last week’s defeat at Glentoran also misses out.

“The new boys’ registrations are still not processed,” said Kee.

“Hopefully, they both can play a part as we attempt to get ourselves away from the bottom of the table. It certainly will be a tough job at Portadown.

“I was very disappointed with the performance against Glentoran on Thursday. Our energy levels were shocking. I think a few were out celebrating the New Year.

“We were lethargic and slow and let Glentoran dictate play.

“I’ve spoken to the players and told them they need to respond.”