Walker: more new faces on the way

Jordan Baker is one of eight new faces at Ballymena United this summer.
Jordan Baker is one of eight new faces at Ballymena United this summer.

ROY Walker insists his summer recruitment drive is not yet complete, despite taking the number of new faces at Ballymena United to eight.

The Sky Blues boss this week added Portadown duo Ally Teggart and Jordan Baker to his roster for next season, along with former Larne, Crusaders and Coleraine midfielder Aaron Black.

Despite those new arrivals, Walker told Times Sport: “I expect to make at least three more signings.

“It may even be four depending on how the Michael Smith situation turns out. If Kenny Shiels gets the Kilmarnock manager’s job, it seems likely that Michael will move there, so we may have to bolster that right-hand side of the pitch.”

That is exactly what the manager has done in three other areas, with the acquisitions of centre-forward Baker, left-sided winger Teggart and central midfielder Black.

“I’m very pleased with the three we’ve added. Jordan Baker is as quick as anything in this league and he is well over six foot tall and a real handful.

“He was one of my absolute targets this summer and I spoke to Gary McCutcheon to get his feedback, having played with Jordan at Portadown, because it is important to get the right balance in terms of a strike partner for Cutchy.

“For such a young player, in the past couple of years he has played in Irish Cup and Co-Operative Insurance Cup finals and in Europe – the same can be said for Alan Teggart.

“He has tremendous delivery of the ball and a left foot akin to that of Nathan Hanley in those situations and he can also get beyond his man and put crosses in.”

The third new signing this week was Aaron Black, who secured his release from an injury-plagued spell at Coleraine to join rivals Ballymena, where he will link up with his brother Ross, another summer recruit.

“I spoke to Aaron last summer and he now believes he made the wrong choice in joining Coleraine and he feels very grateful that we have come back in for him.

“I waited for medical reports before completing the deal and we have had him looked at by one of the country’s top specialists who has come up with a different diagnosis to that which he received at Coleraine and working in conjunction with Gordon McCartney, he is responding very well to treatment and has come through without any problems.

“The one thing I will say about all three players is that they have joined Ballymena for football reasons rather than financial – if it had been a financial decision, we wouldn’t have been in the picture.”

Walker is aiming to bring in another defender and striker, but the frontman won’t be Kevin Kelbie, who has joined Glenavon..

Walker says all the players he has signed fit within the projections of the new salary cap for clubs which officially comes into force this week but warns: “We haven’t got the resources to go gung-ho.

“We’ll be looking to bring in some of the top players from the Championship – young, hungry players who will bolster our squad as we lacked depth last season.”

Walker has also resolved his goalkeeping situation, re-signing Dwayne Nelson on a two-year deal to provide competition for new stopper Aaron Kerr, while releasing Ryan Brown after one season.