Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey is in talks with the club about continuing as manager for the 2023-24 season.

McConkey arrived at Ferney Park in March 2018 for his second stint as manager of the club and led the team to the Irish Cup final a year later, but endured an often difficult campaign last season as they failed to mount a promotion challenge, eventually finishing in eighth spot in the Championship.

Ballinamallard chairman Tom Elliott admitted that talks have been ongoing since the end of the season about McConkey extending his stay as manager. “We have been in discussions with Harry and he is assessing where we are at the moment,” he revealed. “The committee have met with him, and we have put some plans in place and Harry is considering those.”

If McConkey does agree to remain at the helm, he will face a NIFL Championships season that promises to be one of the most competitive of recent years. Portadown are likely to start the campaign as one of the favourites for the title after their recent relegation from the top flight, and they have already announced a number of high profile signings and contract extensions as they look to confirm their squad. Ballinamallard will be hoping they can match Niall Currie’s team on the pitch next season, but Chairman Tom Elliott acknowledges it will be difficult for the Mallards to match their spending power.

“Finance is always an issue for us,” he admitted. “We maybe don’t have the potential that some of the clubs in the East of the province do because they have more people to sell the product to. The cost of living at the moment has also had an impact, and we have found that some businesses are maybe looking a bit closer at who they are sponsoring and who they are helping. From time to time, you do find that there is a tightening and more of a squeeze, and this happens to be one of those times.”

In a bid to boost their prospects off the pitch, the club have turned to the business world for solutions. Two sports consultants will address the club members at the Annual General Meeting on Friday, and Elliott hopes their plans for the future will have long lasting benefits for the club. “Oran Broman is a sports consultant who has been doing some work for us for about six months around the plans for the future,” revealed the Chairman. “Mickey Livesey is from the South of England and he is a marketing officer who is going to do a wee bit of work with us to try and see where he can improve things with the club, in administrative terms, being able to sell ourselves better, and hopefully help us in marketing terms which would include finances.”