David Jeffrey has begun his Ballymena United rebuilding job in earnest by making his first two signings.
The Showgrounds boss has signed Knockbreda defender Kyle Owens and Limavady United striker Cathair Friel on two-year contracts.
Owens, a brother of Crusaders striker Jordan, has had spells with Carrick and Dundela before joining Knockbreda last season.
“He is a big, strong, commanding centre-back who has a real presence about him,” Jeffrey told Times Sport.
“He feels that now is the time that he really wants to push on and play at the highest level and try to emulate the success that his brother has had.”
Jeffrey is also excited by the signing of striker Friel, who broke the club’s goalscoring record as he plundered 46 goals to help the Roesiders claim the Championship Two title.
“I’m absolutely delighted because Cathair is a goalscorer and every club is looking for those.
“He had a terrific season with Limavady and he has been instrumental in the success they have had.
“He had an opportunity to join Ballymena earlier in the season but he wanted to stay and help Limavady win the league and that was very honourable on his part.
“The thing with both boys is that they have excelled at the levels they played at but now they want the opportunity to show what they can do at a higher level - they have shown great hunger and desire to do that and I have been very impressed,” said Jeffrey, who hopes to complete a number of other signings in the coming weeks.
The manager has also boosted his squad by re-signing winger Willie Faulkner on a one-year deal.
“I have been really impressed with William since I took on the job.
“He gives us different options in that he can play either out wide or else up front and he has shown a great attitude.
“I moved quickly to get William re-signed because he was heading away on a short break and I will be speaking to a number of other players who are coming out of contract next week,” added Jeffrey.