McCALLION FOR BLUES

EXPERIENCED Derry City right back Eddie McCallion has agreed a one year contract with Glenavon.

The 33-year-old, who played alongside Blues boss Gary Hamilton at Blackburn in 1997, has spent 14 years at Derry but has now decided to bring that to an end, in favour of joining his former team-mate.

Brother of former Glentoran midfielder Tommy, McCallion has picked up two FAI Cups and six League of Ireland Cups during his spell at DC and could play one last game for the club on Friday night before joining up with Glenavon.

“Eddie has told me that from Saturday on, he’ll be a Glenavon player,” Hamilton told the ‘MAIL.’

“Derry are down to the bare bones with injuries at the minute, that’s why they had to pull out of our friendly on Tuesday night, and Eddie’s going to help them out on Friday night and be involved on the bench.

“Then he’ll play for us against Duleek on Saturday and from then on, he’ll be a Glenavon player. I don’t mind him helping them out because he’s played all summer for them anyway and he’s a fit guy.”

Hamilton is confident that McCallion will be a good influence on the club’s young players and is also hoping that he can contribute new ideas to the club’s coaching staff.

“He’ll be a big asset to us because he has a lot of experience and he’s versatile,” he said.

“He has played at centre-half for Derry lately and he could also play on the right side of midfield if needed because of his fitness.

“He’s like Tony Grant in a lot of ways because he has that experience and is a winner. He’s won cups and has played at the highest level for Derry for 14 years.

“We have a lot of good young players at the club and he’ll be great for them to learn from. He’ll be good for the coaching staff too because we’re always open to opinions from our experienced players and he’ll be one of those. He’ll be contesting with Kris Lindsay for the position of vice-captain behind Brendy Shannon.

“He’s a great signing and it’s good for the club that he’s prepared to leave a top team like Derry City to come and join us, who have been a bottom three or four side for a few seasons now.

“He came down to watch us on Saturday and was very impressed with the set-up. He’s keen to join and he sees that the future’s looking better. Now he can hopefully be a part of getting Glenavon to where we want to be.”

Of course, Glenavon’s current right-back Brendan Shannon is also the club captain but with both players able to play a variety of positions, Hamilton is confident that both can fit into the starting line-up.

He said: “Brendy can play at right-back, left-back, in centre midfield or on the right side so he’s versatile as well.

“He’s got a super attitude and that’s why he was made captain. Nobody’s safe in this team because of the competition that we have but he’s our captain so he’ll play more games that not.

“Unfortunately, he’s in a bad position because he’s suspended for the first two games of the season so if the other guys come in and do well, he’ll have to fight to get his place back.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton has defended his decision not to bring 19-year-old goalkeeper Jamie McArdle back to the club.

McArdle played for Glenavon’s youth team but then moved on and starred for Tandragee Rovers before joining Portadown and playing in their Europa League qualifier in Cyprus last week.

“He wasn’t at the club whenever I joined,” Hamilton said.

“He’s now too old to play youth team football but he needs to play regular football. We have two goalkeepers who also need to play.

“Portadown were able to guarantee him regular football for their Reserves when I wasn’t because of our two guys. He’s a good keeper but he’s young and he needs to play. If he had joined us, he would have been holding up his career because we couldn’t guarantee him regular starts.

“We have two good under 18 keepers who are capable of stepping up to the Reserves anyway, so we want to concentrate on getting them through.”