Ronnie McFall urges Portadown to ‘step up to the plate’ ahead of Dungannon Swifts clash

Portadown's Ronnie McFall
Portadown's Ronnie McFall

Manager Ronnie McFall has urged his Portadown team to step up the plate.

The County Armagh boys are coming off the back of horrible performance at the Oval last weekend. They not only lost the game, but centre-back Keith O’Hara was dismissed along with Mark McAllister, who wasn’t even on the pitch.

He was one of the Ports’ substitutes sitting on the bench, but was red-carded by referee Mervyn Smyth for speaking out of turn following O’Hara’s dismissal.

Frustrated McFall is demanding an instant response when his boys entertain Dunannon Swifts at Shamrock Park on Saturday.

“It’s time the players started to hit the levels they know they are capable of, it’s about time they started to show their appetite,” said McFall.

“Too many of them just haven’t turned up yet this season. In saying that, we have been plagued by injuries right from the off; we haven’t had a settled side since the start of the league campaign.”

The loss of O’Hara and McAllister topped off a horrible afternoon at the Oval.

“Overall, it wasn’t a great game,” added McFall.

“We are below the level that we are capable of playing. The Dungannon game is now a must win job for us.”

McFall’s troubles show no sign of easing. Not only will O’Hara and McAllister sit out an automatic one match ban, but Ken Oman (hamstring) and Garry Breen (knee) are likely to miss out due to injury, along with Chris Ramsey (ankle), Jordan Lyttle (groin) and Peter McMahon (groin).

“It’s a big chunk of the squad missing,” added McFall. “And, it will not be easy against a Dungannon side that seems to up their game every time they play us. It’s also a local derby, which adds a bit of extra spice.”

Swifts boss Darren Murphy said was delighted with his team’s win over basement side Warrenpoint Town last week and wants a repeat performance.

“We controlled the game for large parts, which was pleasing,” he said. “Leading 2-0, we always knew that Warrenpoint would come out and give it a go. To be fair to our boys, we defended very well. It was a massive three points for us.

“This will be another test, but if we show the same commitment and produce the same work rate, we can get something from the game.”

The Swifts will be missing Cameron Grieve and Gary Liggett, both suffering from hamstring problems, while Jamie Douglas is on holiday.