Due to January's poor weather, Glentoran have had limited games in the last few weeks. Games against Dungannon and Glenavon have been called off however this may not have been the worst thing for Eddie Patterson's side. With no fewer than 9 injuries in our last game against Ballymena Utd at The Oval, it was clear that the squad were struggling to deal with a difficult period. Thankfully this week sees a return for most of these players and Colin Nixon may be close to getting the all-clear from the doctors having been recommended a 6 week lay off from Christmas. Stuart Elliott continues his return to fitness after a long period on the sidelines although is not expected to feature. Steven Gordon and William Garrett will not be available after completing Deadline Day loan moves to Lisburn Distillery for the remaining games this season.
Glentoran travel to Portadown having slipped to 6th in the Danske Bank Premiership. The Glens however have games in hand on both Coleraine and Ballinamallard Utd ahead of them, giving the side potential to rise to 4th in the table. Cliftonville remain top and are now 23 points clear of The Glens although we also have a game in hand on them.
Our hosts Portadown have hit good form of recent seeing them rise back to the standards expected of the side pre-season. Losing Matthew Tipton to Linfield in the summer seemed to affect Ronnie McFall's side signficantly however the recent coup in signing exprienced striker Gary Twigg from Shamrock Rovers has spurred The Ports back into life. Twigg's Portadown career has gotten off to a fantastic start and Glentoran will need to be aware of the threat he will pose come Saturday.
Glentoran and Portadown have been great rivals in recent years of Irish League football with plenty of memorable games played. None more so memorable for the Glentoran following than our last trip to Shamrock Park before Christmas when Glentoran rallied back from 2-0 down to beat 9 man Portadown 4-2 on the day. Glentoran may not particularly want the same drama tomorrow, but the same number of points returning to East Belfast would be most welcomed.