Ballinamallard United boss Harry McConkey is working hard on strengthening his squad as preparations continue for the new season.

The Mallards played local duo Enniskillen Rangers and Tummery Athletic over the last week, beating Rangers 6-1 on Thursday night and Tummery 6-0 on Saturday.

This was followed by a 3-2 defeat away to Ardstraw on Tuesday night when two late goals saw the game finish in the home side’s favour.

The paperwork has been completed on the signing of Matthew Buchanan from Dergview while the club hope to meet with Ryan Mayse this week. Talks are also on-going with Niall Grace and two other unnamed players.

“Ryan Mayse came to us on loan last year from Ballymena and is now a free agent and has been talking to several clubs but we are hoping to talk to him this week and we would be very keen to hold on to him.

“We have spoke to Niall Grace and that’s still ongoing along with a further two players but they are not across the line yet,” added McConkey.

Meanwhile, the current squad are working hard to get ready for the new campaign.

On Thursday, John Edgar bagged a hat-trick while Richard Clarke, Reece Byrne and Nick Palmer hit the goal, while on Saturday Sam Robb netted twice with Clarke, Micheal Glynn, Aaron Arkinson and Byrne also registering.

And McConkey was pleased with the work out his squad got from the two Fermanagh and Western opponents and felt that the end scores were harsh on the pair.

“I was delighted that both Michael and Ryan pulled out the stops at short notice to put the games together and it was a great exercise for us from a point of view that more players got game time.

“I think that both teams really put it up to us, they were both really well organised and worked really hard and it was maybe the fact that we had a stronger bench that it told.

The scorelines though were irrelevant and actually flattered us but I’m still delighted that we found the back of the net because that is a great habit to have,” he said.

McConkey has used the games to have a look at some of the younger players available to him and they have not failed to impress.

I think young Reece Byrne and Sam Robb have been excellent for us which is great to see and it was good to see Mattie Buchanan come in and get settled, he hasn’t played a lot of football so it will take him a bit of time to get up to speed. It was also pleasing to get Duwayne McManus on for the final 20 minutes on Saturday.

“The only down side for me from the Rangers game was that Ryan Mayse pulled a hamstring and then Darragh McBrien got a very bad dead leg and he couldn’t play on Saturday because of that.

Obviously, Ryan’s is more long term, it will be several weeks, but Darragh is hoping to be back again for Saturday but we will see how he is on Thursday,” he added.

On Tuesday night, McConkey took his squad to Ardstraw and two Richard Clarke goals had them 2-1 ahead before Ardstraw struck twice late on to win 3-2.

“It was another really good work out and it was a good learning experience for the youngsters,” he commented.

And overall, McConkey is happy with where his squad are fitness wise.

“We have been doing it gradually in terms of fitness, It has been good to get boys 45 or 60 minutes and now we want to get some of them up to 90 minutes. We have Strabane this week then Warrenpoint the week after and that will certainly be a step up for us.”