McKerr deal nets £250,000

GLENAVON are set to become £250,000 richer after young defender Michael McKerr agreed a dream transfer to Premiership club Birmingham City.

The teenage right-back, who only broke into the first team squad at Mourneview Park in the second half of last season, has agreed a two-year professional deal with the Midlands club.

Lurgan Blues boss Colin Malone said the contents of the deal were ideal both for McKerr and Glenavon.

"Michael has agreed terms and conditions with Birmingham City which is fantastic news for him and the club," said Malone. "To come through the under-16s, under-18s, reserves and senior side at Glenavon in one season, and to top it off with a move to a club like Birmingham is remarkable. It's great for him and it's great for Glenavon."

Malone, who shrewdly secured McKerr on a two-year contract with Glenavon at the end of last season, explained that the quarter of a million deal would contain other bonuses for the Lurgan Blues.

There is even the possibility of Birmingham fringe players being loaned to Mourneview Park.

"Not all the money will be coming up front, there are stage payments involved and these are all excellent for the club," Malone said. "We also could have players loaned to us, which would be fantastic. The whole package is very good."

The news comes on the eve of the new Irish League season on Saturday with Glenavon due to entertain Dungannon Swifts in their opening game of the CIS Insurance Cup at Mourneview Park (kick-off 3pm).

Malone's men are also paired in a group with Irish Premier League champions Linfield and fancied Ballymena United, who visit Mourneview Park on Saturday week.

Glenavon go into the new campaign on the back of an encouraging pre-season. Out of eight matches, Glenavon lost just once, ironically to Saturday's opponents.

"Pre-season has gone very well," Malone added. "We've played eight games and lost only one, that was a poor performance against Dungannon.

"I believe we have the makings of a decent squad built up but on Saturday we're up against a top four side, and it's going to be very tough. Having said that, it will be a good yardstick for us to see where we've got."