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Larne and Linfield set to battle for McMurray as striker transfer-listed by Ballymena

 

By Jim Gracey

Big-spending Larne are set to rival Linfield for top Ballymena United striker Johnny McMurray who was transfer-listed by the club in a shock move yesterday.

Linfield have previously been linked with the 24-year-old. But the willingness of Championship leaders Larne to better any Blues offer is a further statement of their ambition, backed by Purple Bricks millionaire Kenny Bruce's investment in his home town club.

United boss David Jeffrey explained he took the decision to list McMurray ahead of the January transfer window when contract extension talks with the player stalled.

Jeffrey said: "In keeping with club policy we spoke to Jonathan and he was very open and honest that at this time he didn't want to go into negotiations but would like to wait until January to review the full options available to him."

Jeffrey added that a number of enquiries have been received for McMurray over the past six months but, until now, they were not willing to let him go.

He added: "There are constant rumours about where he may or may not be going, so we feel it is appropriate and in the best interests of the club and the player to say that he is available for transfer.

"This will remove any smoke and mirrors for clubs who are interested and allow for openness around their intentions."

Jeffrey stressed he "very much hoped" the striker would stay at the Showgrounds but admitted it was up to McMurray to decide his future.

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