Portadown triple transfer strengthens firm club stance over Lee Bonis future

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton has delivered a transfer triple - and clear message to rival clubs circling around in-demand captain Lee Bonis.

The Ports face a crucial January transfer window in a fight for Premiership survival following a return of 12 points from 21 top-flight games.

Only basement-based Warrenpoint sit below Portadown in the senior standings but Tipton has moved to strengthen the squad with three fresh faces he feels add ‘hunger, experience and pace’.

Deals confirmed for Howard Beverland, Jack Smith and Jamal Dupree prove the Ports have a budget in place for January business irrespective of Bonis’ future.

Portadown's Lee Bonis. Pic by Pacemaker.

It is understood Glentoran now stand as clear favourites over Linfield and Larne in the pursuit of Portadown star striker Bonis.

However, Tipton is adamant the club stance remains firm that any player sale will only get the green light if in the best interests of the Shamrock Park outfit.

“I’m delighted to bring in Howard, Jamal and Jack as our first business in this window,” said Tipton. “In talks with the Board we have discussed a transfer budget for January and I’m currently working on a number of deals designed to strengthen our squad.

“It is going to be a big second half to the season and we want to bring in players capable of adding to the current group.

“In terms of Lee’s future, there has been a lot of speculation and clubs may look at our situation and think we are vulnerable in any negotiations given the desire to bring in extra bodies.

“But Lee signed a five-year deal in 2021 and it is not a case of the club desperate to simply accept any offer.

“As always, we will only ever sign off on a deal if all aspects serve the best interests of the club.”

Former Coleraine and Crusaders centre-back Beverland offers welcome experience to the Ports’ young panel - with Smith and Dupree both 24 years old and bringing ‘rapid pace’.

“Howard is still just 31 years old and has hundreds of Irish League games under his belt, so that’s going to be a massive addition to an area in which we’ve been operating for most of the season with just two fit centre-backs,” said Tipton. “Jack and Jamal each bring genuine rapid pace to our attack.

“We have signed players to add hunger, experience and pace...with hunger to push the club forward the most important aspect in any signing.”

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