Preparations for the new season are full steam ahead as Lisburn Distillery completed more signings this week.
The club have added goalkeeper Jack McCrea, striker Darren Bell and young defender Tirrell McCrory to their squad.
And Whites boss Colin McIlwaine says his squad is ‘starting to take shape’, as he begins his reign at New Grosvenor.
Speaking to the Star this week, the new boss said: “The squad is starting to take shape now. We’ve got new players in and everybody is working hard to get their fitness levels up ahead of the new season.”
The latest signings come in the wake of the club having brought in Johnny McCaw, Marcus Beattie, Paul Young, Aaron Harris, Rhys Grainger, Jody Lynch, Steven Hislop, Stephen Curley, Darren Doherty, Timmy Clarke, Alan McMurtry, Nick Beta, Barry Moore, William Wharry, Mason McSorley, Matt Boyd and goalkeeper Tony Galbraith.
McIlwaine says that with the signing of Jack McCrea, the club now has two senior goalkeepers.
“We wanted to make sure we have got cover,” McIlwaine explained. “Jack has lots of experience, he played at Crusaders and was at Queen’s University last season and we’re glad to get him on board.
“Darren Bell played for Crusaders Reserves last year and he scored plenty of goals, and he brings us more cover in attack.
“Tirrell McCrory is one of the kids we want around in the squad,” McIlwaine added.
“We’ve said we want a mix of youth and senior players and he’s a great prospect. I’ve been impressed with him since I saw him.”
The Whites have already played several pre-season friendlies, winning two and earning a draw in the other, with some impressive displays and plenty of goals so far.
McIlwaine, however, is more focused on increasing his sides fitness levels during the close season, before they begin life in the NIFL Premier Intermediate League.
“Obviously results aren’t the be all and end all at this stage, it’s more about the performance and getting our fitness levels up,” the boss commented.
“It’s always good to get a win, but performance is more important,” he added.
“Against Derriaghy we played very well, it was a close game but we got a couple of goals to get the win.
“East Belfast was a tight game. a physical game. We want the players to know how to battle, as well as get the win.
“I’m looking forward to getting the fitness levels up and seeing what we can do come the start of the season,” the new boss said.
Meanwhile, the Whites will play host to Linfield on Thursday evening. McIlwaine said: “We’re expecting a strong Linfield side, so it will be a massive test and we’re hoping for a good night for the club.”
Looking to the season ahead, he added: “It’s going to take us time. It’s a work in progress.
“It’s about working with the squad and concentrating on the start of the season.”
The Whites will play Shankill United at home this Saturday (ko 3pm).
The pre-season friendly will be followed by a Players ‘Night at The Races’ fundraising event.
Elsewhere, Lisburn Distillery have been drawn away to take on Crumlin Star in the first round of this season’s Steel & Sons Cup Competition.
The game will be played on Saturday August 13th at the Cliff 3G pitches in Larne with kick off at 2.30pm.