As the only Ballymoney side in Championship Two following Ballymoney United’s relegation at the end of last season, the pressure is on players and coaching staff at Glebe Rangers to ensure their survival in this tough and competitive league, writes GILLIAN ANDERSON.
Chairman John McAuley is more than aware of the challenges the club faces in the new season ahead.
“The league shakeup this year will see a possible five teams relegated so this will be the biggest season in Glebe Rangers’ history
“The coaching staff are working day and night to bring in players to strengthen the squad. We have tried to keep as many players as possible from last year although we have already lost a couple already.
“The lads started pre-season on Tuesday night, they literally took one month off and they are back at it again because we need to hit the ground running when the season starts on 8th August.
“We are looking to re-build both teams and go for it and we can’t do much more than that. It’s hard to get players, there are so many teams in the area all after the same players. We are battling against Coagh, Tobermore, Limavady, Portstewart and Wakehurst for the same players.
“The problem is the players of the quality you need are able to go to the clubs with money to pay them and we arent able to do that. Also a lot of players at the top end have family commitments and so they want to play in the mornings only. Ballybogey is a great example, they have four or five players more than capable of playing Championship football but it suits them to play in a morning league.
“We have several of our players away with work commitments and we have also lost Jackie Morrison until later in the season. Chris Nicholl is still recovering from his injury. Initially he thought he was going to have to retire because of the injury, but he was up watching the guys train on Tuesday night so hopefully we will get him back on board.
“With regards our goalkeeper situation we have lost Brian Kane, we think he is going back to Dervock. His partner is having their third child and he contacted us to say he can’t commit which is fair enough.
Gregg Shannon is basically batting us between several teams, he has said there are three teams interested in him, so as it stands at the moment we have no goalkeeper. To be fair to him, Gregg has come out quite openly and has said it is down to money so our chances of getting him are slim. It is going to be a really tough season but we have done it before.”