There is no under-estimating the importance of Monday’s clash between Newry City and Portadown with both sides struggling at the wrong end of the Northern Ireland Premiership.
City are in ninth place with fifteen points while Portadown are a point behind in eleventh position, second from bottom of the league.
Newry were held to a 1-1 draw against fourth placed Lisburn Distillery on Friday and will be thankful that Gary Browne’s appeal for a penalty, after appearing to be brought down in the box, was waved away by the referee.
Manager, Gerry Flynn accepted his side were second best for much of the game and commented afterwards: “Hopefully, we’ll be able to pick it up against Portadown and I will have my boys fully prepared for the clash live on Sky television.”
A repeat of the away performance the previous weekend when Newry beat Donegal City 3-0 would certainly up their chances against a Portadown side who have got the bit between their teeth.
Andy Graham grabbed himself a brace that day and William Hill bet 6/1 for Newry’s six-goal striker to open the scoring on Monday.
Portadown lost narrowly at home to league leaders Linfield in their last game and appear to be recovering from a poor start to the season.
Manager Ronnie McFall said: “I think we’re in a false position and are improving greatly. We had a deserved win at Cliftonville last week, and played well against Linfield on Friday night when we lost 2-1. That was a good showing, given Linfield’s resources.”
His side have a game in hand when they’ll play Cliftonville at home and with a good result at Newry could soon be climbing the table.
William Hill is offering odds of 9/5 for Portadown to continue their recovery with an away win.
Kevin Braniff got back to scoring ways with the late consolation against Linfield; it ended a barren spell of 6 games without a goal.
That was his fifth goal in ten appearances so far this season and Braniff will be looking to follow up again on Monday, Boylesports bet 2/1 for the 27-year-old Ulsterman to score at anytime.