Ballymena United ‘delighted’ to confirm number of new signings
Ballymena United Manager David Jeffery moved early to boost his squad, but ‘out of respect for their previous clubs’ has waited until the players were all officially contracted for the season ahead.
Jeffrey reflected on the close season so far:
"Obviously we have made space in the squad with players coming to the end of their contracts and some moving to other clubs. It would be impossible to reflect on the amount of time spent on player recruitment without going into detail, but that is part and parcel of recruitment and identifying the right players to come and join us, and that work will continue until the close of the window.
“That saying, we will re-commence preparations for the new season next week with the squad, and are pleased to announce the new additions who will join us for that."
David shares his thoughts on each signing below.
"I'm absolutely delighted that we were able to bring Dougie here. Whilst others chose to announce this move, we waited out of respect, but that doesn't stop us now from talking in a fulsome manner about it.
“He is a player I've admired for some time, an excellent footballer, strong and physical, he can play in middle of park or at left centre-back. Given that he is experienced and well respected in his position, I don't need to wax lyrical about Dougie but he has great vision, he's a great leader and for all these attributes I'm delighted he's agreed to join us."
"Sam was here at the club when Alan Simpson was our goalkeeping coach, so we know all about his potential.
“At that time he couldn't see enough of a chance to break into the first team, so he then decided to further his career with a move to Ards. We've since monitored his progress, even when he switched to Dungannon Swifts. We were alerted that his time there was coming to an end and of course we were interested.
“He had other options available to him, but met with Bryan and myself and from that point he saw himself at Ballymena United.
“Jordan Williamson is clearly doing very well, and that battle with Ross Glendinning benefited both keepers, and now it is down to Jordan and Sam to push each other to that next level. Sam is not a rookie by any means, just look at his appearances in the Irish league, and so we are delighted that he has joined us."
"We are delighted to bring Lee into the club. With Trai returning to Linfield following his loan spell we were aware of the need to strengthen again in this position and Lee came highly recommended to us.
“We met with Lee and his ambition to kick on in his career stood out. He was a team mate of Steven McCullough when they played together and we see his ability to move up in a similar way. It is very pleasing to bring in a young man who has demonstrated an improvement in his game over the past couple of seasons, but feels that coming here he will improve more.
“His attitude has been first class and he is in exactly the mould of player we have signed over the past few seasons."
Coming Home... Chris Rodgers & Caolan Loughran
"Finally, we have always been clear about wanting to see local lads playing for their home team. We've progressed players through the academy into the first squad, have been able to loan the likes of Ben Wylie and Trai Hume to the benefit of their home town team, and now we're able to create a bit of a coming home for Chris Rodgers and Caolan Loughran.
“When we met them, both men felt they had unfinished business at Ballymena United, both had gone so far in their careers since but felt they had more to contribute. They are under no illusions of the expectations on them as local boys, but very much want to represent their club.
“We know them both, we know what they bring as players and we know what they bring as passionate Sky Blues. Without going into the detail of squad size protocols, the opportunity to have home grown players to the standard of Chris and Caolan, and still leave space to improve the squad further is an incredible opportunity for both us and the players."