Crues striker Dempster is set to seal switch to Dixon Park

Curtis Dempster is poised to make the switch from Crusaders to Ballyclare. Photograph: Presseye
Curtis Dempster is poised to make the switch from Crusaders to Ballyclare. Photograph: Presseye

Ballyclare Comrades manager David Dorrian has boosted his strike force by recruiting a proven Northern Ireland Under 18s goal-scorer.

Nineteen-year-old Curtis Dempster, who has been on the books of Linfield and Crusaders, has put pen to paper for the Dixon Park outfit, and will be formally registered when the transfer window opens next week.

“I have known Curtis from my time at Windsor Park, and he should prove to be a big asset to us in Championship 1,” said Dorrian. “His career with Crusaders stalled last season because of a dislocated shoulder and he subsequently spent time on loan with Knockbreda, so I am delighted to have him on board. He hails from the Shore Road in Belfast, so travelling to Ballyclare for training presents no problems,” he added.

The Comrades’ strike force will also benefit from the experience of Eddie Hill, the club’s former manager, who now wants to resurrect his career as a player.

Over the past couple of decades Eddie has been the Reds’ talisman, and his ability on the ball and distribution skills will complement the energy and enthusiasm of the younger members of the team. Hill and Dempster should both be in action when the pre-season friendlies start as early as July 4, but don’t be surprised if there will also be other additions to the squad before then.

Defenders Dean McAllister and Chris McIlwaine along with midfielders Craig Todd and David McCullough have been upgraded from the successful Reserves XI, and they will be striving to make the breakthrough to the senior side.

Darren Doherty has signed up for another year, but Kyle Buckley who has been linked with a move to Ards, is keeping his options open, as are Andrew Doyle and Ben Browne.

Training resumes on Saturday June 27, followed by a friendly against UUJ in Jordanstown on Saturday July 4. Other dates for your diary: July 16, Nortel, away; July 21, Ballymena United, home; July 25, TBA; August 1, Moneyslane (Newry), away.

n On behalf of all connected with Ballyclare Comrades FC, chairman Trevor McCann extends sympathy to the club’s website organiser Tim Duff, on the death of his father, who was a keen Reds supporter.