McGibbon handed Ports management role to end of season

Pat McGibbon.
Pat McGibbon.

Lurgan man Pat McGibbon has been appointed as interim manager at Portadown until the end of the season.

McGibbon, who spent two seasons at Shamrock Park as a player plus played professional football with Northern Ireland for over a decade, will take charge of his first game on Saturday against Coleraine.

He returned to the club this season in the role of physio but holds his UEFA Pro Licence and is determined to get the season back on track.

“We held a team meeting this week and had an open discussion about how to move forward,” said McGibbon, a former Manchester United defender. “We have the quality at the club but the point was made that only by putting the work in each Tuesday and Thursday then carrying that into matchdays can we turns things around.

“Trevor Williamson and the senior players like Keith O’Hara and David Miskelly will offer assistance but the final decision has to rest with one man.

“I am proud to have this opportunity and we want to get everything off in the right way this weekend against Coleraine.

“It is about bringing the club together now after a difficult period and that unity must come from the Board of Directors down to the team and the supporters.

“We need fans to pack Shamrock Park and really get behind the players as that support can make a massive difference.

“There is a reality to our situation at present in the league and we first need to stabilise everything then build on the quality in place.

“It was only natural from my few months in the club as physio that I got a sense of not only the ability of the players but also the attitudes.

“I am confident in my ideas and we had an honest discussion so the players now know how I work as a manger.

“The most important aspect is to get the work ethic right from day one, plus have everyone around the club working together for the same goal.”

McGibbon will replace Ronnie McFall in the Shamrock Park hot-seat after the latter offered his resignation last weekend following the Irish Cup exit to Lurgan Celtic.

“I spoke to Ronnie this week and will always hold him in the highest regard,” said McGibbon. “I played under Ronnie as a young lad and then a senior pro and it is going to be emotional for everyone this weekend at Shamrock Park one week on from his decision to resign and the Irish Cup result.

“However, the players must focus on the game as the priority and we must get that cohesion in place as quickly as possible.

“It is also important for the future of Portadown Football Club to blood our young players at the right time to help with development.

“Over the rest of the season we will be bringing in younger players into the senior squad to learn from the established players and I believe that is always the best approach for any successful club.

“It is not about any short-term solutions but about a long-term infrastructure across the ranks.

“Although I am looking towards the long-term development of the younger players, it is too soon to start thinking about the futures of the senior squad beyond this season.

“The first job is to get everyone working hard towards turning around our results.”

Pat has held a management role before, with Lurgan Celtic from 2009 to 2012 and Newry City for the 2011-12 season.