Larne’s opening pre-season friendly against Glenavon on Saturday promises to be an exciting one.
For the fans it’s the first chance to get a look at Tommy Kincaid’s new team but it will be mixed with a smattering of nostalgia as they welcome back former manager Paul Millar and three of the best players of his era.
Millar, who had agreed a new three-year contract with Larne in January, quit a month before the end of the season and joined Glenavon as assistant manager to Gary Hamilton. And it was the ex-Inver Park boss who was instrumental in setting up this appetising pre-season tie.
“I wanted to get a good, competitive game and at the same time give Larne a chance to get a good gate, which is why I wanted this match on a Saturday. And the timing is great, too, because it’s the first pre-season game for both clubs,” Millar told the Times.
“I am looking forward to going back because I did leave rather quickly once I had made up my mind that it was time to go. And I must admit I had second thoughts about the decision because I think you always do that. It’s different when you are pushed out of a job, but it wasn’t like that for me so I did wonder if I had done the right thing.
“The fact that I had got on so well with the board, the players and the supporters was a major contributing factor to me thinking that maybe I may regret the decision. But I’m happy now that it was the right time to go.
“As well as myself, it will be a quick return to Inver Park for Robbie White, Marc Brown and Adam Dick who have all joined Glenavon in a chance to prove themselves in the Premier League.
“And it will be a new experience because they were among the first names on the team sheet in the Championship, whereas now they will have to fight hard to get their places. But the rewards could be great, playing against the best teams in the land and even looking forward to a chance to play live on Sky next month when we play Portadown in the first of their televised Irish League games.”
Millar added: “It will be great for us to test ourselves against Tommy Kincaid’s new Larne team. I know Tommy well and I am confident he will assemble a good side, although it’s obviously built around the core of last year’s team. I’m sure it will be an exciting start for them against Glenavon.”