Crusaders winger Stuart Dallas has agreed to join Brentford next season.
The Northern Ireland international will link up with the Bees after playing his last game for the Crues — fitness permitting it will be the Irish Cup final next month.
The 20-year-old was out of contract in the summer but joining a rival Carling Premiership club was never on his radar, despite considerable interest.
Dallas has always dreamed of proving himself across the water and now Brentford boss Uwe Rosler has come calling.
Crues boss Stephen Baxter spotted Dallas’ potential when he was honing his skills at Coagh United and he soon became an instant hit in the Carling Premiership.
A stunning debut season in the top flight saw him net the Carling Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year prizes.
Blackpool expressed an interest in signing Dallas and his team-mate Jordan Owens last summer but the offers were dismissed.
Dallas could link up with his Northern Ireland comrade Niall McGinn next season if the Donaghmore man extends his loan deal from Celtic.
The Bees are currently three points off the play-off places in League One.
Former Crusaders player and Lisburn Distillery defender Andy Hunter tweeted yesterday: “Great to see another of the league’s best young guns get a move across the water. Good luck to Stuart Dallas and hope many more follow.”
Reds ace George McMullan added: “Well done to Stuart Dallas, great move across the water, great lad wish him all the best!!”
Ciaran Gargan added: “Well done to teammate ‘wee Dally’, agreed terms with Brentford. Great player, good luck mate!”
Dallas will be gripped by derby fever tomorrow when the Crues take on neighbours Cliftonville at Solitude.
The Reds will be gunning for revenge after losing the Boxing Day showdown away at Seaview.
Now that Linfield have the title wrapped up, the race for the runner-up spot is gathering pace.
Portadown, fresh from their |1-0 win over Crusaders on Tuesday night, will be looking to deepen Glentoran’s woes at Shamrock Park.
Ronnie McFall’s men deserve immense credit for clinging to Linfield’s coat-tails despite suffering a catalogue of horrific injuries.