|Ryan Harpur and James Knowles|
|Uploaded Wednesday, 9th Jun, 2021 at 15:10|
|FOLLOWING their departures we extend our thanks and best wishes to Ryan Harpur and James Knowles.|
|Harpur's performances, not least against us, caught the attention of the coaching staff at the Showgrounds and he signed mid-season in January 2019. During a time hampered by injuries he still made 42 appearances and scored three goals during his time, with the bulk of his contribution in a steady second season with the Sky Blues.|
|Manager David Jeffrey thanked him for his contribution, "Ryan is a player I long admired, but the game that he came to real prominence was in our defeat to Dungannon at Windsor Park in the league cup final. We didn't do ourselves justice that night, but Ryan was absolutely immense for Dungannon and I promised myself then that we would do our very best to bring him to Ballymena.|
|Situation and circumstance meant we didn't get seeing the very best of Ryan, of that there's no doubt, but no one should underestimate the contribution he made here. He's a quiet man but a very strong and determined man, and really a great leader of men. He was an absolute joy to work with, his ability to ghost into the box and score goals was first class. He still has a lot to offer and his football career is a long way from being over, here was someone who embraced all we tried to do here and someone who was immensely appreciative of how he was looked after here."|
|Knowles arrived at the start of the 2018/19 season, and made a substantial contribution to the team that season with 29 appearances and 5 goals. Following a horrific injury in the League Cup final against Linfield he missed the next 9 months, but a determined Knowles battled through his rehabilitation to break through the 50 appearances mark for the club this season.|
|Manager David Jeffrey is sure that he has still got plenty to offer as he moves forward, "James Knowles, what a talent! Still only 28 years of age, we had the opportunity to work with him firstly at Windsor, and following spells at Cliftonville and Glentoran we were delighted to be able to bring him here.|
In that year where we came second in the league he was most prominent in the middle along with Leroy and Jude, and then came that fateful night at Windsor Park where not only did we lose the League Cup despite a great display, but we also lost James to a horrific injury. Thankfully we were able to get his operation through and support him through his treatment and rehabilitation, extending his contract in the process.
He faced many challenges during his time here but he never backed down once, and at this point he is looking for a fresh challenge and he will take that natural talent to another club. His passing, vision, positioning and shooting are all absolutely first class, and I'm hoping that now his talent will flourish.
|Bryan, myself and the staff thank both players for their efforts at the Showgrounds, and we wish both nothing but our best wishes as they go and develop their careers further."|
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