Ballinamallard continued their pre-season with a one all draw against Championship side Dergview.

A Ryan Curran goal for the visitors took them to a penalty shoot-out in the battle for the John Forsyth Memorial Cup, and despite a spot kick defeat for the premier League team, manager Gavin Dykes was happy with the workout for his team.

“We mixed the team up and played a strong enough team in the first half and then a few trialists and a few young lads in the second half,” he said.

“As expected it was a lot better than it was the Saturday before against Fivemiletown. We have to push on now over the next few weeks, because this is all geared towards where we want to be on 12th August.

“We will have a good idea by the end of the week where we will be with the squad size, and that was always the plan.”

The game saw a return to his former club for Blaine Burns and the first glimpse of Richard Clarke since his summer switch from Crusaders, and the manager was impressed with what he saw.

“Richard Clarke is a quality player and he did really well, although I must say Blaine Burns did very well as well. The fellas have all come back in reasonable shape and I’m happy with the way things are going.

“We will take it step by step and make sure by the first league game we are ready to rock. We will be stepping things up this week. We have arranged a friendly against a local team in Sligo on Saturday and then we will get something to eat and have a night out in Sligo and get to know each other, and then it is all business from then on in.

“We play Ardstraw on Tuesday night and then we have a couple of hard games coming up. We are away to Drogheda the following Monday and then we have Enniskillen Rangers so we are gearing up fairly well.”

The club have confirmed that several of last season’s squad have not had their contracts renewed, with loanee Garry Armstrong returning to Sligo Rovers and goal keeper James McGrath and striker Warner Mullen also leaving the club. The boss is hoping to bring a couple of reinforcements in over the next few days to strengthen a squad that now needs reinforcements.

“I have agreed one deal and I hope that will be done and dusted by the weekend,” revealed Gavin.

“It has been going on a few weeks and the delay is not his fault and it’s not my fault in fairness to him. I’m meeting someone else this week as well and hopefully we will be able to get that done and that would be us nearly done.”

In addition to the two new potential signings, Gavin has promoted three players from the youth team to the first team squad, with Calvin McKinley, Caolan Ward and Jacob Britton all making the step up. The manager is also hoping that he can bring back a former youth player, with Matthew Smyth looking for a club following a spell in Scotland with Dundee.

“Matty Smyth guested for us on Saturday and was excellent,” said Gavin.

“I know he has a couple of options in England or Scotland but if he was available we would be very keen to get him. He’s a great lad, but there is still a bit of work to be done on that. He has been training with us and he is a quality player but he has other options.

“If it was a thing that he was staying in Northern Ireland then we would do everything to get him.”