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New look City ready to go

Thursday, 6 July 2017

New look City ready to go thumbnailNew Armagh City manager Joe Kerr saw his new look side take to the field for the first time on Saturday.

ARMAGH City FC played their first pre-season game under new manager Joe Kerr on Saturday afternoon as they entertained Lurgan Town at Holm Park.

The Eagles, who will be playing their football in the third tier of the Irish League for the first time since May 2014, have been hard at work since June 17 and they have a five more friendly games before the opening game of the seaosn at home to Portstewart FC on Saturday, August 12.

Kerr said he has been pleased with how things have gone so far.

"We have been back for three weeks now and we started 10 days before anyone else.

"There were a lot of new faces coming in and people coming in for a fresh start and it was great to get the group together and start building a new team and a new changing room."

Kerr has been heavily involved in the transfer market but admitted that securing the services of one of the star players from the Marty Rice era was his biggest coup.

"The biggest signing we have made so far has been securing Ultan Lennon for next season. He has a lot of experience and having UItan signed up is a mark of our intentions for next season.

"In terms of the other deals we are still working on things and we have had 24-26 players regularly at training and there is a real hunger and desire from the players in the group to come in, work hard and impress."

A number of former youth team players have joined the panel for pre-season training and Kerr said he is committed to giving young players a chance to shine.

"There are four or five from the Harry Cavan winning team that was coached by John Hynds in 2012 and then another five from my National Youth League U16 title winners in 2015.

"Each session has been very well attended and I really cannot fault the effort and the commitment of the players.

"Yes, there have been times when it has been tough, it has been difficult but there have been no complaints, no one asking why we are doing it and everyone is working hard and giving 110%."

Kerr admitted that it may take time for this new look side to gel but said he is looking forward to watching them progress.

"I'll hopefully have about six of last year's panel signed up and everyone knows that I am all about developing players and we will do just that.

"I know that if this group keep progressing and working hard then they will attract attention from bigger teams.

"We are starting to know each other and bonds are starting to form and we have a good changing room.

"It is a locally based team with players from the Armagh area, Lurgan and Portadown coming in and giving it a go.

"We have a few irons in the fire in terms of adding some experience to the squad but we will give young players in the area a chance to play senior football and we are all looking forward to the start of the new season."

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