Glentoran FC

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Match Preview: Portadown v Glentoran

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 22:28

Saturday 4th February

Kick Off 3.00pm

On Saturday afternoon we continue our Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey Irish Cup campaign with a visit to Shamrock Park.

Irish Cup games v the Ports have been a fairly frequent occurrence, with four in the past decade, all won by the Glens. Most recent was at the start of our successful Cup campaign of 2019-20. We looked dead and buried at home due to a Lee Bonis first half goal until late sub Jonny Frazer won a penalty in the final minute of injury time, converted by Hrvoje Plum. We went behind at the start of extra time but again Frazer to the rescue with a quick equaliser. The Glens ultimately won on penalties with Gavin Peers scoring the decisive kick.

In the 2014-15 final we won the game with the only goal of the match scored by David Scullion. Again at the Oval. In 2013-14 we visited Shamrock Park and came away 3-1 winners with two goals from Curtis Allen on his debut and one from Aaron Boyd. The previous season we were 1-0 winners with the only goal a late header from 21-year-old sub Marcus Kane, in his first season at the club. Moko is the only player to have appeared in all four matches so the skipper will be determined to continue his winning run on Saturday as he looks for his fourth Irish Cup winner’s medal..

January has, as fully expected, has seen a huge overhaul of the Portadown squad; 12 new players arriving and 16 departing as manager Niall Currie looks to haul his side off the bottom of the Premiership table.

Currie has brought in former Glentoran players Lee Chapman and Eoghan McCawl and striker Benny Igiehon from his former club Dundela and secured the services of young Czech goalkeeper Ondřej Mastný on loan from Manchester United for the remainder of the campaign. Defender Aaron Canning and striker Cathair Friel have signed from Coleraine and attacking experience has been added to the side with Paul McElroy arriving from Ballymena United and striker Alan O’Sullivan on loan from Warrenpoint Town.

Rodney McAree: “Needless to see everyone in the changing room was very pleased with our performance and result on Monday night. The Crues came to the Oval with a very clear gameplan to make it as difficult as possible for us. I thought we shaded the first half but was keen to get to half time to correct a few things. When we came back out we played more on the front foot and got the first goal – a very important one against the Crues. I was very pleased for Shay both in terms of his performance and another two goals,  after his pair against Swifts last week. You know when you play Crusaders you’ll always get a spell under pressure. We had that spell  in the second half but the lads defended very well, were first to everything and deserved their clean sheet. Aaron only had one major save to make and he made it cleanly. Also we had excellent players to bring on for the last period with Seanan and Singo welcomed back after their injuries.

I know the Ports are struggling in the league but the Irish Cup gives them a welcome break from that and they’ll want to take advantage of that as an opportunity to get a good cup run. Niall has done well for them in the January window so we’ll not underestimate the challenge we face on Saturday.

Paddy still has a niggly heel problem which is why he missed out on Monday night. He’s still a doubt with it so we’ll see how he is tomorrow but we won’t rush him. Rhys has been a bit sore over the past couple of weeks and he’s been playing a lot. So again we’ll make a call on him nearer to the time. Conor Mac is improving all the time but is still a couple of weeks away.

We’re in a decent run of form right now and when things are like that the key thing is to keep the balance right to keep the run going. Everyone is in a great frame of mind and looking forward to playing.”