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Saturday 25th March v. Cliftonville (away) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

News from the Manager
Uploaded Friday, 12th Aug, 2016 at 08:27

BALLYMENA United manager David Jeffrey spoke to ballymenaunitedfc.com about new developments, a squad update and the home support on Wednesday night.
New Under 19's Manager
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jamie Dougall into the coaching staff for this year's Under-19 squad. With the U20 Development League and U17 League replacing the Reserve and Youth Leagues, the age gap has been bridged by entering a team into the Lisburn Youth League.

Jamie comes with a wealth of experience in coaching young players after spending some time with Manchester United's soccer schools in Italy and also with local side Glenravel.

Manager David Jeffrey, commenting on the appointment, “we needed to bring in the right person from the outset, with clear goals of player development and we feel Jamie is the correct fit for this role and for Ballymena United. With this I feel that our coaching set up within the senior teams is now complete and we can move forward and strengthen each of the squads. Can I pay tribute to Joe McCall and Paul Harbinson who have worked to identify what was best for the U19's and highlighting Jamie as a top candidate."
Away to Ballinamallard
Manager David Jeffrey gave an update on squad matters ahead of Saturday's trip to Ballinamallard, "Unfortunately Johnny McMurray is out of Saturday’s squad after having to come off injured against Glenavon. He has picked up an injury to his leg and we're still waiting to hear the full extent so can’t make any prediction as to how long he will be out for, but he'll be a big miss on Saturday. I thought he was most impressive against Glenavon and we missed his presence when he went off. We'll also be without Stephen McBride who successfully came through an operation last week and is going to be going through a rehab programme in order to get him back and match ready. Denver Gage has obviously missed pre season due to injuries, but I have to pay tribute to him as he has managed to get himself into fantastic shape, despite the injury, and in truth his pre season really starts for him next week.

On more positive news we have Neil Lowry back and available and after some impressive performances in the U20's we will be calling Matthew Shevlin, Caolan Loughran and Chandler Douglas up into the travelling party as we prepare to head to Ferney Park on Saturday. These three have come into the reckoning through their hard work in training and what they have carried over onto the pitch."
Player News
We have agreed to let Kyle Crawford, Jake McNeill and Kyle Beggs go out to gain first team experience at Knockbreda (Crawford & McNeill) and Moyola (Beggs). There comes a time in the career of young players that the best development opportunities are gained by dropping down a league or two and playing every week against experienced players - that education is difficult to replicate within the U20's league and the boys have decided to go after that learning experience.

Regarding the U20's, I would like to particularly highlight, and thank for their work, Paul Harbinson and his team of coaches for the time and effort that they have put in. They have had a blistering start to their league with wins over Crusaders and Glenavon and, whilst victories are nice, they are performing their most important function of managing the development of our younger squad players in particular, and preparing them for the call up to the first team."
And a big thanks from the manager
"It would be remiss of me not to mention the supporters on Wednesday night. I thought the level of encouragement and support throughout the entire match, not just when we were 3-0 up, was incredible. The reception that the players got from the supporters when coming off was incredibly pleasing, and didn't go unnoticed by the players in the changing room afterwards.

We are developing something here at the Showgrounds, and at every step we need the supporters on side with us and Wednesday night really showed me that we are what we always want to be - United"