Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Glentoran directors will make Gillespie decision, says McDonald

Glentoran boss Alan McDonald

Glentoran boss Alan McDonald has admitted that the Carling Premiership champions are looking into the possibility of bringing Keith Gillespie to the Oval —– but revealed it won't be his decision.

McDonald was approached by the Northern Ireland international's agent, Phil Munnelly during the pre-season break about the possibility of Gillespie making a short-term move to the Glens.

And while the manager was interested enough in the idea to, at least, not completely shoot it down, McDonald said that because of the financial position the club find themselves in, it would be decision that he felt he couldn't take.

“I was contacted by Keith's agent a while ago – I have known him for quite a while, he was a box-holder at QPR – and he asked me my thoughts on the matter,” said McDonald, himself a former Northern Ireland hero.

“Of course it's interesting but I have passed it above my head. It's well documented the position the club is in, in terms of finances and the budget has had to be cut.

“As part of my contract I am obliged to keep a tight reign on the budget and, because of that, I felt it wasn't a decision that I could take and have left it with the Chairman (Aubry Ralph) who has met with the Board to discuss it.

“There are quite a few things that need to be weighed up.

“Would Keith Gillespie put bums on seats? Would he want to play for us? Would we want him to play for us? These things are now up for the Board to decide.”

Fresh from an impressive 4-0 victory over Lisburn Distillery on the opening day of the Carling Premiership on Saturday, the east Belfast men take on Ballymoney United at the Oval tonight in the Co Antrim Shield.

However, none of those who took part at the weekend will go out against the Championship 2 side.

McDonald has gone for a policy of using the competition as a way of giving the youngsters and fringe players more game time and that includes a return to the fray of Jason Hill, who was transfer listed in the summer.

“Jason's attitude has been superb,” said McDonald.

“I was forced into making decisions at the end of last season because of the finances and putting Jason on the transfer list was not a footballing decision.

“He is a great kid and I have never had any trouble with him in my time here.

“There has been little interest in any of the transfer listed players and Jason and Jamie McGovern have been given squad numbers and though they are still on the list, if no one comes in for them before the window closes then they will stay and challenge for a place in the team.”

He added: “We have so many games, I am going to prioritise and the Co Antrim Shield will be used as a way of developing the younger players. Should we get to the final I will still continue to play the young lads.”

Andy Waterworth, Matty Burrows and Sean Ward, who all missed out on Saturday will also play a part.

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