Ballinamallard United manager Harry McConkey has confirmed a number of new arrivals at Ferney Park ahead of the forthcoming season while there is also some familiar faces who won’t be returning to the club for the campaign including experienced midfield duo Duwayne McManus and Chris Kelly.

McConkey has had a busy summer overhauling his squad ahead of the start of the NIFL Championship which gets underway next Saturday with an away game against Ballyclare and he has further added to his squad in the last couple of weeks with the signings of talented defender Peter Maguire on loan from Sligo Rovers, former Derry City and Finn Harps left back Sean McDermott along with Tummery Athletic attacker Ruairi Sludden.

McConkey has also nailed down striker Patrick Ferry and midfielder Ronan McKinley on permanent deals with both having been at the club on loan last season.

McManus has had to step away due to work commitments and McConkey paid tribute to the talented midfielder.

“Mano gave us all great joy both on the training pitch and on match days with his exquisite passing and wonderful vision.

“ He could run a game on his own but sadly injuries too often interrupted him when he was in a real flow of games and his game time became more limited .

“There is no doubt we will miss his talent on the pitch and his wonderful wit in the changing room. I wish Mano every best wish for the future,” said Harry.

Chris Kelly has been released by the club by mutual agreement and McConkey says he is another who will be missed.

“Cizzy was a joy to manage. He has been such a popular member of our squad and such a positive influence both on and off the pitch since he signed for me in August 2018. He has been one of my best signings .

“We will miss that great infectious smile around Ferney Park and wish him all the best for the season ahead with his local club,” he said.

McConkey also confirmed that Callum Moorehead and Colm McLoughlin would not be part of his squad this season with both going to University across the water.

On the changes to his squad, McConkey commented: “While many changes have been forced upon my squad this season I do also think sometimes it is good to freshen your squad and offer new challenges to players.

“You want players to recognise that you can’t sit on your laurels and as a group and as individuals we have to try and push on and continue to develop and grow.”

And the Ducks boss feels that there is a good balance to his squad heading into the new season.

I think there is a healthy balance in the squad. At the top end of the pitch we have quality players who can find the back of the net and we have a good solid base at the back and we have plenty of options in there.

“We have trimmed down midfield a bit this year, instead of having eight we probably have six but we are delighted with the progress of young players like Reece Byrne, Stevie Drumm and Ronan McKinley we still have that vital experience of captain Richard Clarke Shane McGinty and John Edgar .

“What we have tried to do is create a balanced squad but also a squad with great competition in it and we need to be showing that competitive attitude at every training session if we are going to make a meaningful challenge for honours this season,”stated McConkey.

And the Mallards chief is keen for his side to hit the ground running when they take on Ballyclare Comrades next Saturday at Dixon Park.

“We are determined to try and get off to a good start which sadly hasn’t worked out for us in the last couple of seasons but that is what we must aspire to and for now is our only focus,” he added.

Ballinamallard’s preparations for the opener will continue this Saturday with a home game against Dean Shiels Premiership outfit Dungannon Swifts.