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Cathair Friel placed on transfer list by Ballymena United after 'breach of club's disciplinary policy'

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Cathair Friel has scored 51 Danske Bank Premiership goals for Ballymena United.

Cathair Friel has scored 51 Danske Bank Premiership goals for Ballymena United.

Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Cathair Friel has scored 51 Danske Bank Premiership goals for Ballymena United.

Ballymena United's star striker Cathair Friel has been made available to other clubs ahead of the January transfer window.

Manager David Jeffrey explained that the move is in response to a "breach of the club's disciplinary policy" by the 27-year-old.

While goalkeeper Ross Glendinning has been 'reluctantly' put on the transfer list after losing his place as United's number one, it's the move to allow Friel to speak to other clubs that will raise eyebrows.

Since joining the club in 2016, he has proved a striking star, finishing as the club's top league scorer in every season since. He scored 18 Premiership goals in his first campaign and followed that up with double-figure hauls in each of the next two terms, adding eight in the truncated 19/20 season.

He has started only three games this term, the first of which came in last month's 2-0 victory over Warrenpoint Town as Friel took only 16 minutes to get on the score-sheet.

After that game, Jeffrey had beamed with delight at the return of his ace forward.

"He's a great talent and all credit goes to Cathair," he said. "He has responded tremendously well to guidance and support. He has looked much more like himself, back with that lovely big smile of his. His goal and his all-round work ethic was superb. That's the Cathair Friel I know and love."

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However, things turned sour when Friel reacted angrily to being substituted in the 83rd minute of a 2-0 success against Carrick Rangers at the start of the month. The forward was subsequently left out of the squad for Saturday's draw against Portadown.

"Football is a team game," Jeffrey said at the time. "I understand people's frustrations when they come off but any behaviour has to be done in a respectful manner. I only make decisions in the best interest of the team, and this was with another tough game against Portadown coming up. Cathair did a silly thing."

Goalkeeper Glendinning, whose brother Reece plays in defence for Carrick Rangers, has been United's number one since joining from Linfield in 2016 but, after starting the first four league games of the season, has lost his place to former Crusaders stopper Jordan Williamson.

"Ross approached us last week as he was disappointed to be left out of the first team, and felt that he needed to be playing regular football at this stage of his career," said Jeffrey.

"He spoke with Bryan (McLoughlin - assistant manager) and I and out of absolute respect for him as a person and a player we have reluctantly agreed to his request. The professional that Ross is, he will still fight for his position in the team until such point that he may leave, and we have no doubt of his determination to still claim a starting place."


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