Portadown agree release deal with Australia-bound Kevin Braniff

Kevin Braniff in action for Portadown

Portadown have come to an agreement with Australia-bound Kevin Braniff which will see the club have first option on the forward on his return.

The player will leave for Australia on 5 February, but has indicated a willingness to play for the Shamrock Park club again in the future.

The deal allows the former Millwall player to become a free agent during his spell 'Down Under'.

Braniff has secured a one-year working visa for his time in Australia.

Kevin Muscat, Braniff's former Millwall team-mate, is currently manager of the A-League's Melbourne Victory side and has arranged a number of trials with teams based in Australia's second-tier level.

Braniff's status as a free agent opens up the options.

Portadown confirmed two weeks ago that the transfer-listed striker was set to relocate to the southern hemisphere for a time.

The former club skipper had been the subject of interest from Premiership rivals Linfield and Cliftonville.

Braniff was made available and fined in November after what Portadown termed "a breach of club discipline".

The surprise move came just two days after the Ports were hammered 4-0 by Ballymena United in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

In a newspaper interview conducted at the time, Braniff revealed he had earlier had a row with manager Ronnie McFall.

The striker said he felt he had been singled out by the veteran Ports boss and explained the the pair had clashed after a 4-2 defeat by Glenavon in a live TV game.

He is regarded as one of the most technically gifted players in the Irish League.

In 2010, Braniff won a senior Northern Ireland cap under Nigel Worthington, playing in a friendly against Turkey in the United States.