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Linfield agree deals to sign Irish League duo ahead of Champions League opener



Crossing town: Conor Pepper

Crossing town: Conor Pepper

�INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Crossing town: Conor Pepper

Linfield have agreed terms to sign Conor Pepper from Glentoran and will formally announce his move at the start of next month.

The Blues will also confirm the arrival of goalkeeper Chris Johns from Coleraine ahead of playing in the Champions League on August 8.

Although players moving to and from Glentoran and Linfield has become more commonplace in recent years, Pepper switching from the Oval to Windsor Park is a significant move.

He is a player who can perform in a number of different positions, impressing at right-back and in midfield in his time to date in the Irish League.

With Chris Casement having exited Windsor, Blues boss David Healy was in the market for a right-back and will be pleased to have secured Pepper's services.

Asked why Pepper wasn't in Glentoran's squad for their penalty shoot-out Irish Cup semi-final success over Cliftonville on Monday, boss Mick McDermott admitted he was moving on.

"The reality is Conor Pepper has been injured the last three weeks and he hasn't taken part in any friendlies and he's agreed terms with another club," said McDermott. "So there is no point having a player who is injured and is going to another club.

"Conor is a great lad, I've nothing but respect for him. I like him a lot. He's been a good servant for this club but we couldn't work out a deal to keep him at the club so he has moved on."

Johns had signed a pre-contract with Linfield earlier this year and is expected to be the club's No.1 when the Blues start their new season in Europe next month against San Marino champions Tre Fiori.

Belfast Telegraph