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Tactics not tantrums as Portadown’s Matthew Tipton takes emotion out of derby

Portadown could sit cut adrift in the Premiership relegation zone by nine points following the final whistle of today’s derby date with Dungannon Swifts - but manager Matthew Tipton wants emotion out of the equation.

The Ports have shipped four goals in defeats on two previous dates this season with Dungannon but success this weekend at Stangmore Park would offer Tipton and his players a vital lifeline in the battle to beat the drop with 23 games ticked off.

However, Tipton wants any sense of the high stakes to stay in the stands between supporters.

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Instead, the Ports manager is putting his faith in the players’ positive foundations off back-to-back clean sheets and midweek tactical plans.

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton. Pic by Pacemaker.

The Swifts will draw confidence, of course, from back-to-back away wins in league play over, respectively, high-flying Larne and basement-based Warrenpoint Town - plus those past triumphs against Portadown.

Tipton has little interest in flicking back across the history books between the clubs, however, instead turning his focus to the recent blanks from the Irish Cup victory over Limavady United and league draw against Coleraine.

“Previous games with Dungannon have no bearing for me as the line-ups and circumstances will all be very different of course come Saturday,” said Tipton. “I don’t believe in looking to the past and putting extra motivation on any one fixture over another as every league game still always offers the same three points.

“But we know we need to add wins to our record this season and my focus is on progress by the squad from game to game to game, no matter the opposition.

“My philosophy has always been based on no one game should be looked on as more important than another and we want to win this Saturday in the same way as last weekend, the next game after Dungannon and beyond.

“What I do want to see is players carry us forward based on the composure and organisation on display last weekend in our draw with Coleraine at home.

“We looked solid at the back in dealing with the Coleraine threat and that was another clean sheet booked following our Irish Cup result.

“We want to lock things up at the back moving forward and then build on that foundation going forward into the final third in our play.

“Too often I think we’ve approached games people maybe look at and think we should be winning in too much of a gung-ho way for me that can neglect our defensive duties.

“In games up against the league’s higher-ranked clubs a counter-attacking approach has served us well.

“So you always want the right balance and that is down to hard work together on the training pitch in preparation to then carry everything into each specific fixture.

“You want to show patience in the right way in games and have that right measure of control and composure.

“Against Coleraine we showed the right signs of getting that in place as often in the past we’ve had to scramble balls away out of the box or off the line and it lacked the level of calm I want as manager.

“The challenge is to continue our stability at the back but get our pressure right in the opposition half.

“We feel we have players now in the squad available for selection who would be capable of something off-the-cuff in the moment that could make the difference.

“The idea is to have that structure in place across the side as the starting point then individual ability on top.”

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