Ports target return to club for McGibbon

Pat McGibbon during his second playing spell at Portadown. Pic by Pacemaker.
Pat McGibbon during his second playing spell at Portadown. Pic by Pacemaker.

Portadown officials have opened discussions with former Northern Ireland international Pat McGibbon about a return to Shamrock Park.

McGibbon could be in place as part of the backroom team for tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) Danske Bank Premiership trip to Coleraine.

Club sources have confirmed to ‘Times Sport’ that McGibbon is a target.

“The club is in discussions with Pat over a role at Portadown,” revealed the source. “If successful, it is hoped to have Pat in place by this weekend’s league match.”

McGibbon’s experience across a range of areas is considered attractive as the Ports attempt to arrest a decline which has resulted in five consecutive defeats.

McGibbon enjoyed two spells on the Shamrock Park books as a player - moving across the water as a teenager before returning home following a decade-long career in professional football at clubs such as Manchester United and Wigan Athletic.

The recent departure of Melissa Harrison has opened up a vacancy for a physiotherapist but McGibbon’s impressive credentials as a player and coach suggest an enhanced voice in club affairs.

McGibbon, who completed a degree in physiotherapy as a professional, won the Irish League with Glentoran in 2005.

His commitment to grassroots coaching, having formed the Train To Be Smart programme in Lurgan, could prove another bridge between the parent club and Portadown Youth. His role with the County Armagh Milk Cup Association has also connected McGibbon to a number of players across Portadown’s current youth and senior squads.

A statement is expected from the club before the weekend confirming interest in McGibbon and clarification regarding Ronnie McFall’s position.

“The Board of Directors and Ronnie are actively working together to identify a successor,” said the club source. “It is not dependent on results or any timeline but about making sure the appointment is the right man for the job to take this club forward.

“The hope is that everyone can unite on and off the pitch to rescue the season.”