Graham McConnell completed the signing of Josh McAllister last week and, even if the former Wellington Rec striker proves to be his last recruit, the Larne manager will still go into this season very optimistic and confident.
“Josh is a player I’d been keeping an eye on for the last couple of seasons and I actually tried to sign him in January. But he wanted to be loyal and didn’t want to be leaving them in mid-season,” explained McConnell.
“I tried again at the end of the season and, thankfully, he agreed to sign. He’s an out-and-out striker, even though he has played before as a winger for Welly Rec, and I have high hopes for him in the Larne jersey.
“What I like about Josh is that he had a great hunger to do well at this level. There are lots of quality players in the Amateur League who have the ability to step up to a higher grade, but don’t have the ambition or desire. Josh has tons of ability and he possesses all the required characteristics,” said McConnell, who is primed to get ready for action.
“Pre-season starts on Saturday at 1pm at Inver Park and I can’t wait for it begin,” he enthused.
“The friendlies have all been finalised – home to Shankill Uniyed on July 13, Brantwood on 20th, Ards on 23rd and Ballymena United on 27th, before travelling to play Albert Foundry on 30th and finishing with a trip to Dungannon Swifts on August 3.”
McConnell added: “Finally, I want to express my delight upon seeing the draw Cliftonville have got in the second round of the Champions League. It’s terrific to see them getting a plumdraw like Celtic. That’s fully deserved after what they did last season and good luck to them.
“It just shows what can be done if there’s a good driving force and everybody works together. I can remember Cliftonville playing Larne in the League Cup final 10 years ago – and just look at the position the respective clubs find themselves in today. That is surely food for thought,” said the Larne boss.