Belfast Telegraph

'Danny's a massive coup': Glenavon make three signings including two former Glentoran attackers

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton welcomes new signings Dylan Davidson, Danny Purkis and Conan Byrne to Mourneview Park.
Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton welcomes new signings Dylan Davidson, Danny Purkis and Conan Byrne to Mourneview Park.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton has hailed the signing of East Belfast striker Danny Purkis as a 'massive coup' for his club.

The Lurgan announced the signings of three attacking players on Thursday afternoon, with Hamilton hoping to fire his side up the table and out of an unfamiliar poor vein of form.

Hamilton has guided the club to two Irish Cup victories during his eight years at the club and is more used to his team being in the top echelons of the table than the eighth place they currently occupy.

In order to rectify that situation, former Glentoran duo Purkis and Dylan Davidson will be joined at Mourneview Park by 34-year-old veteran Conan Byrne when the January transfer window opens.

Purkis, 24, has already netted a stunning 45 goals for Amateur League club East Belfast this season.

Hamilton says Glenavon saw off competition from both Larne and Purkis' former club Glentoran to secure the player's signature and hopes he can finally make his mark in the top tier of Irish League football.

"No matter what league you’re playing in, for anybody to score that number of goals by this time of the year is an incredible achievement," the boss told glenavonfc.com

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"He is coming in from a lower league and sometimes it is different but by the same token, the fact he has scored that many goals, it’s not surprising that top clubs were after him.  For us to get Danny is a massive coup for Glenavon. His next challenge is to prove himself at the level of the Premiership and he should be able to do it.”

Purkis' fellow former Glentoran ace Davidson is a 20-year-old left-winger who started 33 Premiership games for the east Belfast club, scoring four league goals, before moving to Coleraine in January.

He was to make only a single league started for the Bannsiders and in the summer moved to H&W Welders, where he has set up 19 goals already this season.

“I've tried to sign him three times," says Hamilton. "I feel Dylan is a top player as well, he’s young, he’s hungry and he’s got a great left foot and he puts great balls into the box.

"Josh (Daniels) has done a great job out there and he’s a top player but we don’t have a natural left-sided player. We’re hoping that Dylan will come in and give us that and Josh can play right wing and through the middle as well so it gives us options."

The other addition to Glenavon's squad is at the opposite end of his career. Winger Byrne, 34, arrives after playing for St Pat's Athletic, Shelbourne and Sporting Fingal in the League of Ireland's top division, with his most impressive season coming in 2014 when he scored 18 Premiership goals for St Pat's.

“If you look at his career in the League of Ireland, his stats at St. Pat’s, he’s scored near enough one in four from right wing and that’s big going for any winger in any league," said Hamilton.

"He brings goals and experience to the team; he’s played for a big club and, if you look at our squad, we maybe lack enough players who have been in pressure situations, where they’re playing for fans that demand results and success. Sometimes, when you go through sticky patches, players like that can help you, help the squad and help the team.

"He’s looked after himself all his career and hopefully that will stand us in good stead like Winkie Murphy, Ciaran Martyn, Eddie McCallion, Davy Rainey and Kyle Neill that we brought in later in their careers."

The Lurgan Blues take on seventh-placed Ballymena United at the Showgrounds on Friday evening knowing a win would see them leapfrog David Jeffrey's side.

But even that, Hamilton knows, is not where the club want to be.

"I want to be a successful manager, I want to challenge for trophies and I don’t want to be down in relegation fights," he said. "At the end of the day the buck stops with me, I pick the team and I’m responsible for who plays for the club."

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