Darren Murray named player of the month for October

Darren Murray has become the second Portadown striker in successive months to be named Northern Ireland Football Writers' player of the month.

The Ports forward picked up the prize for October after scoring eight goals, including two hat-tricks.

Last month Murray's strike partner Gary Twigg landed the award.

"It's a tougher league this year than in recent seasons. We had a wee dip in form for a few games but hopefully we are back on track again," said Murray.

BT SPORT FOOTBALL AWARDS

Player of month: Darren Murray (Portadown)

Manager of month: Stephen Baxter (Crusaders)

Championship player: Michael Halliday (Dundela)

Goal of the month: Guy Bates (Glenavon) v Portadown

"The game against Dungannon Swifts is a local derby so it was good to score a hat-trick in that one.

"Kevin (Braniff), Gary (Twigg) and Peter (McMahon) have all been among the goals this term and that's a big change from last season.

"I thought we were the better team against Crusaders last week but we ended up getting nothing from the game.

"That's left us with a bit of catching up to do but if the teams ahead of us have a couple of bad results and we have a few good ones, then we're back in the hunt at the top end of the table," argued the ex-Donegal Celtic player.

Ronnie McFall's side travel to face Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park on Saturday, with no-one expecting a repeat of the 11-0 score-line which the Ports enjoyed in their favour the last time the sides met in the Premiership in September.

"That's a game and a result which will live in the memory for a long time," admitted Murray.

"To be part of a match like that was something else. I've never played in a game like that before and never expect to do so again."