Guy Bates will make his final appearance for Glenavon tonight (Friday) - just hours before heading off to start a new life in Australia.
A recent change to the striker’s personal circumstances left Bates looking at alternatives and the Australia switch is based around a job opportunity thanks to family connections.
He will feature in the squad for tonight’s league game at Mourneview Park against Ballymena United and Glenavon officials have made arrangements to protect the club’s interests down the line.
“It is a massive blow but life is more important than football and, first and foremost, we wish Guy all the best,” said Gary Hamilton, the Glenavon manager. “We have spent time this week attempting to come up with suitable arrangements to allow Guy to stay but he feels his best option is Australia and we understand the reasons behind that decision.
“He will be in the squad tonight and heads off on Sunday to take up a job opportunity with family.
“The Australian season ends in a few weeks so he cannot join a club until next year but it is a decision based around personal circumstances.
“If he does decide to start playing football next season in Australia we retain his registration and have an agreement with the Irish Football Association relating to a loan switch for the remainder of the two-year contract he signed here this summer.
“After that, a transfer would be possible and Guy has made a promise only to sign for Glenavon if he ever returns to the Irish League.
“However, that is down the line and Guy’s immediate focus is on starting a new life.
“Guy has brought a lot of goals and all-round quality to Glenavon so it is a loss not only to the club but the Irish League overall.”
Hamilton has spent the past few days attempting to bring in a replacement for Bates.
“We let Tiarnan Mulvenna go as part of a swap deal last week,” said Hamilton. “Now we are down in numbers and I am unable to play 90 minutes.
“With the transfer window closing next week I have been racing around trying to use my contacts to bring someone in but it is a limited market due to financial circumstances.
“The reality is we cannot afford out-of-contract players from across the water so am looking to the Republic Of Ireland.”