LARNE FC: All systems go for pre-season

New Larne signing Matthew Henry (left) seen here in action for County Antrim against Club America in last summer's Milk Cup. Picture: Press Eye. INLT 26-917-CON

New Larne signing Matthew Henry (left) seen here in action for County Antrim against Club America in last summer's Milk Cup. Picture: Press Eye. INLT 26-917-CON

In little over a fortnight’s time Larne Football Club will begin its preparations for the new Championship campaign with a pre-season friendly against Ballymena United.

The home match against the Sky Blues at Inver Park (July 16) is the first of four scheduled games in the run- up to the big kick-off in August.

Premiership new boys Ards have also been lined up to play Davy McAlinden’s men (July 23), followed by a trip to The Dub to take on Queen’s University (July 26) and a match against Amateur League Crumlin Star.

The club expects further fixtures to be announced in due course.

McAlinden has added to his squad with the acquisition of local lad Matthew Henry.

Henry, a Northern Ireland Schoolboy international, was an integral part of County Antrim’s success at last summer’s Milk Cup Premier Section.

The midfielder has agreed a one-year deal with his hometown club and joins from Cliftonville.

The Invermen have also confirmed the re-signing of striker Darren Stuart.

In an article on the club’s website, Stuart was described as a striker who had ‘proved himself to be an important member of the first team squad in the run-in last term, having just returned from a lengthy lay-off’.

Meanwhile, skipper Paul Maguire and defender Adam Calvert have committed their futures to the club for the new season.

The forthcoming campaign will be Maguire’s sixth at Larne. Last season he rattled in 20 goals - the second time he has done so since joining in 2011. The livewire frontman has just 12 more strikes will bring up 100 goals.

Calvert joined from Glentoran in January making nine appearances during the second half of the season.

Earlier this month McAlinden brought four new faces to the club with former Cliftonville striker Stephen O’Neill, Ards midfielder Gary Dorrian, Lurgan Celtic centre-back Daniel Wilson and Emmett Templeton joining up.