DERGVIEW supremo Tommy Canning has bolstered his squad by completing the signing of former Institute captain Aidy McCauley and Dungannon Swifts striker Ben Gallagher.
Gallagher has joined on loan from Swifts and Canning beat off competition from rival Championship clubs to secure the services of both players.
With Calvin McCallion and Blaine Burns both returning from injury, Canning believes the new recruits will give him real options for the second half of the season.
“Ben Gallagher will bring Irish League experience and quality at the top end of the pitch,” said the Derg boss.
“He’s what we have been looking for and to be fair to him he had the opportunity to go to other Championship clubs better positioned than ourselves.
“He wanted to come to us because we had something to fight for and he can help us in our relegation battle. That was something that interested him and I think it says a wee bit about him.
“He’s got a hunger and a point to prove; that he is capable of playing in the Irish League.
“Aidy McCauley is every bit as important a signing. He, too, has Irish League experience and was captain at Institute last season.
“He’s a great age (26), can play in a number of positions, has pedigree and personality.
“Again he could have gone elsewhere but decided to come to us because he liked the environment, despite our position in the league.”
Both players trained with the squad this week and are likely to be included for Saturday’s trip to sixth placed Ballyclare Comrades.
Comrades, too, have completed a number of new signings and they’ll be keen to push further up the table.
On their last visit to Dixon Park, Dergview chiselled out a hard fought 1-0 victory courtesy of a headed goal by teenage defender Bobby Deane.
Canning is expecting another tough encounter and would happily settle for a similar one-goal win.
“They had a good win in the Irish Cup against Dollingstown and they have had some decent results since we beat them,” added the Strabane man.
“We didn’t play particularly well when we beat them up there but I suppose the position we are in at the minute it’s all about points and results.
“It’s going to be a tough ask but we’ll go there well prepared and see where it takes us.”
One player who definitely won’t be making the squad is Shea Devlin who fractured and dislocated bones in an arm during Saturday’s cup defeat at Crusaders.
The livewire attacker underwent surgery on Saturday evening and is likely to be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Defender Lee McNulty’s recovery following surgery on a ankle injury is also taking longer than anticipated.