Eddie adds two more players to Ballyclare squad

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Ballyclare manager Eddie Hill has added two more players to his squad at Dixon Park.

In come Gerard McAlea, a central midfielder from Annagh United, and winger Ross Early who has been with Carrick Rangers.

For Ross it will be a return to Ballyclare Comrades having previously been with the Reserves, with an occasional call-up to the senior side before switching to Taylor’s Avenue.

“This probably completes our signings,” said Hill. “We now have a panel of 19 players in the senior squad and I think this should be sufficient to see us through at least to the January transfer window opens.

“There are also a few players from the Reserves knocking on the door for promotion, and indeed I had goalkeeper Warren McAllister - the Ballymena Provincial & Intermediate League Junior League Division 1 Young Player of the Year - and highly-rated young defender Mark Rainey in the squad for Saturday’s friendly against Dunmurry Recreation.

“Unfortunately that one had to be postponed because of waterlogged ground conditions at Ashley Park. All our new signings were looking forward to pulling on the Comrades shirt, so now we turn our attention to the local derby with Larne on Tuesday 17th at Dixon Park.

“Before then we will continue training under Stuart McClean who is ensuring that everyone will be fit for the new campaign on August 11. Our assistant manager, Gary Bell, who suffered a serious leg fracture is making a marvellous recovery, and he has been taking part in some of the lighter aspects of training,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jonty Watson’s second string are determined to retain the Ballymena Junior League Division 1 title, with training continuing in Ballyclare three times a week.

Jonty confirmed that he has not lost any of his squad, and that Stephen Boyd and Marty Quinn will continue to be beside him in the dugout.

“It will be mostly the same again,” he said, “and the first priority will be to retain the title, but we will be aiming to land one of the cups as well. New signing Henry Edgar, from Encore, is looking forward to getting a run-out against Cliftonville Olympic at Solitude on Saturday afternoon in the first of our series of friendlies (kick-off 2 pm).

“After that we travel to Newington Rangers on Saturday, July 28 and Wellington Rec on Tuesday, July 31, while a date has to be confirmed for one against east Belfast side Victoria Athletic.”