Ballymena United: Jeffrey begins Sky Blues squad overhaul

Reece Glendinning (left) will join his brother Ross at Ballymena United
Reece Glendinning (left) will join his brother Ross at Ballymena United

Ballymena United have signed six new players as part of a significant squad overhaul for next season.

Jonathan Addis, Shane McGinty, James Knowles, Reece Glendinning, Jude Winchester and Andrew McGrory will all play for the Sky Blues next season.

Stephen McAlorum, Thomas McDermott and Conor Quigley have also agreed new deals to remain at the Showgrounds.

A further four players, Francis McCaffrey, Conor McCloskey, Emmet Friars and Patrick Weir were released.

The club had already confirmed the arrivals of Addis and McGinty from Glentoran and Ballinamallard respectively but the pair have now formally committed to this year's beaten League Cup finalists.

Reece Glendinning, who was Player of the Year while on loan at Ards last season, will join his brother Ross at Ballymena.

Winchester moves to the club after he recently left Cliftonville by mutual consent while Knowles has joined from Glentoran and McGrory has left Glenavon after a six-season spell.

"There has been an incredible amount of work behind the scenes, not just at the end of the season but throughout it in trying to identify players who will improve the quality of our squad," said United manager David Jeffrey.

"With regards to the players signed and re-signed, we purposely targeted younger players who, whilst young in years, had a sound Irish League grounding and experience.

"We had a profile type of player to target and that is the type we have been able to attract to the club.

The new signings represent a significant overhaul to the Sky Blues squad for next season, with the departures of McCaffrey, McCloskey, Friars and Weir coming shortly after the release of Kevin Braniff, Gary Thompson, Kyle Owens and Johnny Flynn.

"We want to pay tribute to all the players for the part they have played in this stage of our vision here and we know that they will all go on to achieve in the next stages of their football careers," added Jeffrey.

Andy McGrory moves from Glenavon to Ballymena after six years at Mourneview Park
Andy McGrory moves from Glenavon to Ballymena after six years at Mourneview Park

Glenavon revealed they offered McGrory an extended contract in an attempt to persuade him to stay at Mourneview Park.

Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton confirmed the club had been willing to give the midfielder a four-year contract and a testimonial to retain his services.

"When I was younger I played at Linfield under Bryan [McLaughlin] and David and so they know how I work," said McGrory.

"When they heard I wasn't signing for Glenavon again they spoke to me and pitched their ideas to me and I liked what they had to say.

"Every player wants to get into the team and stay in the team and I'm no different, I want to create and score goals and hopefully I can do that for Ballymena."