Lisburn Distillery’s new boss has been fast at work assembling a brand new squad - with another two signing last night.
Colin McIlwaine took over at the helm of the club under three weeks ago but already has ten players signed after Glentoran duo Mason McSorley and Matthew Boyd joined on Wednesday.
McSorley is an attacking player who has experience of first team football at the Oval while Matthew is a young defender.
“One of the lads goes to France for the Euros on Thursday” McIlwaine told the Star on Wednesday, “so I don’t want to wait about.
“I want to get players in and I have things agreed that these lads will join. They’re young players and are keen to join Distillery, which is exactly what I’m looking for.
“With the new development team structure at Irish League clubs, there will be a lot of players with a lot of ability becoming available. That’s what we’re targetting at the minute.
“That’s us about half way in terms of signings now.
“There are a couple of lads from last year’s squad that I’m talking to but nothing’s set in stone,” continued McIlwaine. “It will by and large be a whole new squad.
“When we came in, we knew we were going to have to rebuild. We’re looking at stabilising the club as soon as we can and making Distillery a place where people can enjoy football again.
“There are people around the club putting hard work in. We want to get a good atmosphere around the place and get the buzz back in Distillery.
“By the time my squad is finished, hopefully there will be a good blend of youth and of experience because Championship Two is a tough league. We need players who have been there and done it and know what it takes.
“One bad season for any team in that league and it’s a disaster. You don’t want to drop out of the NIFL.”
Already joining the Whites have been Ballyclare defenders William Wharry and Darren Doherty. It’s an area of the pitch McIlwaine has been swift to srengthen. Also in are 25 year-old Barry Moore from Albert Foundry and former Linfield man Alan McMurtry. He can play either right-back or midfield.
Those defenders will play in front of former Harland and Wolff keeper Tony Galbraith.
Winger Timmy Clarke also signed from Nortel, adding to McIlwaine’s first two signings, who were Steven Hislop from Ards Rangers and Stephen Curley from Crewe United.
That duo are keen to help restore the club to former glories.
“I am looking to make a bit of history for the club,” Hislop told the club website’s David Hunter. “I don’t think the club, an established Irish League club, deserve to be where they are. Personally, I want promotion, then we fight in Championship 1 and get the club back on to the big stage again - that’s my ambition for the club.”
The only question now is who will make up the remainder of the squad. It’s certainly going to be a busy summer at New Grosvenor.