Liam Bradley is best man for the job, says Tony Scullion
New Antrim manager Liam Bradley can expect a VIP welcome from the people that matter most to him – the players.
After being appointed for a second term in charge, Bradley is preparing to revitalise a team that catapulted into oblivion within recent months.
And already the appointment of the Glenullin clubman, who will be assisted in his Saffrons' role by his son Paddy, has been greeted with a chorus of approval.
Tony Scullion, controversially axed by previous boss Frank Dawson, articulated the overwhelming view of players within the county when he declared: "Liam will be welcomed with open arms – here is a man who can put Antrim on the right track again."
And 30-year-old Scullion is among a number of veterans who are prepared to answer the call to arms should they be summoned into the trenches by Bradley.
"Liam is the kind of man you would want to play for. I think it's a case of upwards and onwards for Antrim," adds Scullion who had given sterling service to the county before Dawson jettisoned him.
Bradley's return is viewed as a breath of fresh within a county which has shipped its share of rancour lately, the manner of Dawson's departure having left a sour taste in the mouth.
The Antrim executive has come in for its share of criticism yet it has made strenuous efforts to fill the breach in the best possible manner.
Kevin Madden and Gearoid Adams were in the frame for the post, but in the final analysis it was felt that Liam Bradley's experience and his son's capacity for coaching forwards and focussing on physical fitness would prove hugely beneficial to what is expected to be a new-look squad.
It is understood that county board officials had travelled to Monaghan to speak with former Farney boss Seamus McEnaney who had expressed an interest in the post.
Ultimately it was Bradley who was deemed best-equipped to fit the bill for a second term and the fact that his son Paddy forms part of his management ticket will add a fresh dimension to his second coming.
Paddy, who was Derry's leading marksman for well over a decade, has been struggling with a knee injury lately and is looking forward to the challenge of sparking an Antrim recovery mission.
Antrim PRO Brendan Mulgrew is adamant that the county can now go forward in positive mode.
"It is right that we should put in place a plan that will help youngsters to develop their talents so that they can eventually come through at senior level," said Mulgrew.
"This is the only way forward. We have to be optimistic and it's important everyone gets behind the manager and the team now."
Antrim are not due to go into action until the Dr McKenna Cup starts in January, but Bradley will waste no time in confirming his initial panel.
As Antrim were knocked out of the qualifiers in the early stages, they are scheduled to restart collective training this weekend and Bradley will certainly lose no time in mapping out his blueprint for the future.