Portadown FC are currently 7th of 12 in the Carling Premiership League (the top division in Northern Ireland). They’re 2 points behind the team in 6th with a game in hand (that game is against League leaders Linfield).
The Carling Premiership is one of those leagues that has one of those irritating splits to ensure there are enough league games to meet UEFA standards… so with 4 league games left ‘the Ports’ are placed precipitously to achieve top half standing when the split arrives.
Yet building on recent seasons as a ‘Cup Team’, Portadown FC are in the Final of the League Cup and in the Quarter Final of the Irish Cup & the Setanta Cup (having performed well in the knock out stages of European competition last summer.
So what makes success for Portadown FC??
Finishing 6th at the split will mean finishing above Glenavon (our local rivals) again, and five more games against the better supported clubs in the division, so potentially more income – depending on how the fixtures pan out which is of course another confusion. So you’d have to say financially that a higher league finish would be best.
However you also get money for winning cups… and none more so than the Setanta Cup which ‘the Ports’ have never won. They’ve just beaten Bohemians from Dublin in their first round and they now face Sligo Rovers in the Quarter Finals – a tough prospect.
We’re also on the verge of our Quarter Finals replay against Glenavon in the Irish Cup which would bring on a Semi Final against Crusaders if we should progress – a tough prospect again.
And we’re in the final of the League Cup and facing a game against Distillery, our bogey team.
The quandary is should we go for the cups or go for the league?
My view is that we have to concentrate on the League… it’s our bread & butter. We’ve got the League Cup, which we can go full tilt at to win. A single cup (whatever the tin) and 6th place is a successful season for ‘the Ports’.
Even if we go at the Irish Cup and Setanta Cup with our best efforts, against Sligo or Glenavon there are no guarantees (as my recent blog on the first game can testify). For me, at the Quarter Finals stage of both competitions there are just too many variables for Portadown FC to consider winning them serious propositions.
We have to go for the League, making 6th place our priority. If we finish 6th and win a cup it’s a success… even if we finish 6th and don’t it’s a success in my mind. Anything better than that & it’s a season that will go down in history.
Finish 7th and win nothing though, and it’s a poor season that won’t see the light of day in the history books…