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Jeffrey thrilled as Gault, Friars and McAlorum join Sky Blues


By Robert Jones

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey has boosted his squad by signing midfielders Michael Gault and Stephen McAlorum, plus defender Emmet Friars.

Gault - who enjoyed great success with Jeffrey during their Linfield days - joins the Sky Blues after leaving Crusaders and has also formerly played for Portadown.

Ex-Donegal Celtic player McAlorum was recently released by Glentoran, while Friars spent last season with Ards.

The three new recruits have all signed one-year deals.

Defender Caolan Loughran, meanwhile, has signed a new two-year deal and Allan Jenkins has been offered a new contract.

"Supporters could see that evidently we strove last season to give youth a chance, but also as important is to strike a balance between youth and experience," said United manager Jeffrey.

"Significantly we also wanted to add experience, not just in terms of playing in big matches, but also in winning trophies.

"Obviously this year we won our first, and got to Europe, and now we want to cement that achievement by adding experienced players such as the three we've brought in.

"After the excitement of last week, I think it is important to manage expectations now. It is tremendous that we've qualified for Europe and the financial rewards that will come, but don't think it's arrived at the door just yet. In fact, due to the salary cap system in place, we'll not realise the full benefits until next season in all honesty.

"We're also able to confirm that Caolan Loughran has signed a new two-year contract. I'm delighted to see a young player like Caolan commit his immediate future here and he is exactly the sort of player that will be able to learn and benefit from the new signings this season."

The Braidmen announced earlier in the week that they would be releasing six players, including forward Darren Henderson.

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