Malone to focus on long-term Celtic goals

Colin Malone. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Colin Malone. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

A weekend visit to Loughgall will offer few surprises to Colin Malone - but the Lurgan Celtic manager accepts the biggest area of uncertainty is connected to his own team.

Malone spent over two years as Loughgall manager from 2011 and a return to Lakeview Park on Saturday marks familiar territory for the experienced Irish League manager.

However, a summer of change within the Celtic camp has left Malone with questions over what he can expect from his own players.

“With the changes during the pre-season and fact that different circumstances left it hard to get any consistency to our summer, there is an element of “wait and see” when it comes to the players,” said Malone. “You prepare for the worst and hope for the best, like any season, with our goals still to progress across the league and cups and push for promotion.

“But it is going to take time for everyone to gel as this is a squad put together over the summer with a number of players coming and going overall.

“We want to push on as a club but need really the first half of the season to bed in.”

The key exits of Aaron Haire, Adam Rodgers and Brendan Shannon left Malone short of experience but he has turned to Dollingstown for replacements in Jordan Gibson and Richie Thompson.

“Jordan was outstanding against Bangor in the League Cup and Richie is renowned for scoring goals,” said Malone. “Ciaran Ryan has so much ability so just needs consistency and Aaron Rodgers has a great chance to come in.”

Kick-off will be 3 o’clock.