Local recruitment drive key for Ballymena United

David Jeffrey has highlighted the importance of recruiting local players for Ballymena United.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 1:20 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 1:22 pm

The Sky Blues announced the arrival of a quintet of new additions to the club.

Dougie Wilson, Sam Johnston, Lee Chapman, Chris Rodgers and Caolan Loughran was all signed on at The Showgrounds much to the delight of Jeffrey.

But the return of Rodgers and Loughran carries extra significance for Jeffrey.

Caolan Loughran has returned to Ballymena United

"We have always been clear about wanting to see local lads playing for their home team," he told the club website.

"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."

It has been a busy summer of outgoings from The Showgrounds with no fewer than ten members of last season’s squad departing the club.

Boss Jeffrey called for fans to remain calm as they worked on their recruitment drive, and despite bolstering the squad he is continuing to keep searching.

"Obviously we have made space in the squad with players coming to the end of their contracts and some moving to other clubs," he continued.

"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."