Harry McConkey has raided the Fermanagh and Western league to boost his squad ahead of the Championship season. The Ballinamallard manager has secured the signatures of Alex Holder and Ryan Morris from Kesh and Lee Frazer from Mountjoy. He has also welcomed two former players back to the club, with midfielder John Currie and defender Dean Corrigan returning to Ferney Park.

The manager is delighted with his captures, and admits that there may still be more additions before the transfer window closes.

“Lee Frazer is an exciting right sided attacking player with good feet and good pace,” revealed Harry. “Ryan Morris has been with us before but he has come in and looked very good on the right side of defence.

“Alex Holder, his teammate at Kesh, has made a huge impact in a short time with us. He is a great box to box midfielder, aggressive and puts people on the back foot. John Currie has great quality in terms of retention of the ball and he has wonderful technical ability while Dean Corrigan is back in with us as well to offer us some cover in defence. He is a young player who needs plenty of game time having lost out after his disappointment at Dundee last season.

“We are still looking at Brendan Lilley and we are still in talks with a couple of other players to see if we can add another one or two before the deadline.”

The manager has had the opportunity to assess how the new players have integrated with the existing squad during two pre-season friendlies against Institute and Strabane in the past week. The game against Institute at the Brandywell resulted in a 2-0 defeat, but despite the score line the manager was upbeat about his side’s performance.

“There was a good tempo to the game,” said Harry. “We were brave on the ball and we created chances although we didn’t hit the target when we needed to and they had a keeper that made a couple of good saves. They scored from a corner kick which we would like to defend better, but they didn’t carve us open. Dwayne McManus was very effective in the first half and young Sean McEvoy is showing he can be a very effective midfield player. Ryan Morris was exceptional at the back, and with Ryan O’Reilly and Matty Smyth in the middle they dealt well with a very dangerous front line. There was a lot of players that played at a good tempo and we didn’t look out of our depth at all. You obviously come away with a disappointing score line but as a coach there are other things I have to look at, and I think we can be happy.”

The club’s first run out at Ferney Park came on Tuesday evening against Strabane and it was frustrating night for the boss as he saw his side concede three soft goals in a 3-3 draw.

The Mallards eased into a 2-0 lead thanks to two goals from Sean McEvoy but conceded before half time, and although they added a third when a McCartney shot was turned into his own net by a defender, the concession of two more avoidable goals left Ballinamallard still waiting for their first pre-season victory.

“We all know we have to be better than this when on top of our opponents,” admitted Harry. “We must kill the game. Instead we gave them real oxygen and energy by presenting them with goals. The midfield of Clarke, McEvoy and Holder had them on the back foot from the outset. McEvoy scored twice and it was no surprise as he was quality on the night and there looked to be only one outcome at that stage, but we conceded three very avoidable goals. A missed header for the first, for the second we were cut open in the middle far too easily, and the third was an under hit back pass that gave our keeper no chance. We have to hold onto the fact that we did play some good football and did create chances. Simon Warrington had a very good 60 minutes up front with Ryan Campbell and then at right back and was desperately unlucky not to score. We had a lot of our youngsters in for the last 25 minutes and I thought they did very well.

The squad will travel to Warrenpoint this weekend to train and then play against last season’s cup semi-final opponents. It will be a weakened squad missing Nathan Cashel who picked up an ankle injury against Institute. There are also injury concerns over Aaron Arkinson, John Edgar, Josh McIlwaine and Alex Holder. Jason McCartney, John Currie, Ross Taheny, Darragh McBrien and Ryan Campbell are also unavailable, but Harry believes the time away will be good preparation for the season ahead.

“We will be without some experienced players but we will relish the game against a good team,” he said.