Ballinamallard United manager Gavin Dykes has continued to strengthen his squad ahead of a battle for survival over the remainder of the season.
Dykes has confirmed the signings of striker Stephen O’Flynn from Donegal Celtic who is back for a second spell at Ferney Park, while he has also added the loan signing of highly rated Crusaders right back Michael Kerr and centre half Packie Mailey from Finn Harps. They join Ryan O’Reilly and Sean Noble as the new faces at Ballinamallard and Dykes is also hopeful of further increasing his options by bringing in one more player.
“Kerr is a very, very good player and he is highly rated at Crusaders and I have to thank Stephen Baxter,” said Dykes. “He is a youth international player for Northern Ireland but he just can’t get in the team because they have possibly the best right back in the country in Billy Joe Burns. I’ve no doubt that Michael will bring plenty to us.
“O’Flynn was at the club before, he’s big and physical and he will hold it up which is something that we are not doing an awful lot of while he also brings a bit of experience to it. Hopefully we will be able to add one more as well.”
It is understood the Dykes is looking at a midfielder to complete his January business and he hopes that the hard work put in by everybody at the club to add to the squad will pay off.
“It has been a hectic few weeks for everybody involved with the club. The committee have been trying to get funds together to help me get players and we’ve been all over the country meeting players. I’m sure it will pay dividends because anybody who is coming in will bring a bit of quality which is what we want,” stated Dykes.
The Mallards went down to title chasing Crusaders on New Year’s Day, shipping three second half goals in a 0-3 defeat at Ferney Park with the loss of Ryan O’Reilly at half time a big blow for the home side.
“We did alright up to half time, I thought we kept our shape well and Brushie had to make a couple of saves but he is always going to be busy against Crusaders who I think they are the best side in the league. 
“Losing O’Reilly at half time was a blow for us and we had to put McKenna on which wasn’t fair on him either and that took a bit of energy out of us. The first goal kills the game, it is a wonder strike and then the second was an own goal and it’s all over. We will just take the positives out of it and move on,” he stated.
Dykes though is hopeful that O’Reilly won’t miss much football with the defender withdrawn against Crusaders as a precautionary measure.
“It was more precautionary than anything else. His groin and his hamstring was sore and the physio said he could get away with it or it could go and if that was the case we could lose him for six weeks so we weren’t prepared to take the chance,” said Dykes.
The league takes a backseat this weekend with Ballinamallard hosting Immaculata in the Irish Cup and Dykes stresses that they will do everything in their power to progress into the next round of the competition.
“We have a huge cup game this Saturday and we’ll treat them with the utmost of respect because where we are we can’t afford to be lacklustre about anything. We will be putting out as strong a team as we can as we want to be in the next round of the cup and we want to push on,” he added.