BALLINAMALLARD fans favourite Mark Stafford is coming back to where it all began. The former Mallards centre half and captain came up through the youth ranks at Ferney Park and was instrumental in the team’s Championship win and promotion to the Premiership in 2012.
34 year-old Stafford moved from Ballinamallard to Linfield in 2015 and after six successful years with the Blues when he won won four league titles, two Irish Cups, a League Cup and a County Antrim Shield he then joined Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon, last July.
Now, Stafford is coming home and he told the club website;
“I’m very excited to be back at Ballinamallard United FC,” adding, “I’m very aware that I’ll be going into a changing room with different personnel, both players and staff. I know I’ll have to earn their respect and confidence.”
The news will be a big boost to Harry McConkey’s promotion drive with Ballinamallard. They are currently sitting in second place behind Newry City and level on points with third placed Annagh United.
McConkey said; “It’s great to have secured Mark’s signature. He will give the squad another natural leader in the changing room and on the pitch. He is a very experienced and quality central defender.
“I know from our talks both last summer and more recently that Mark is still hungry for success. He is determined to give the Mallards his very best as we enter the run in of a very competitive season.”
Stafford is clearly focused on getting the Fermanagh side back into the top tier;
“I have a focus for the Mallards and hope I can help them again to push for promotion to the Premiership.”
Ballinamallard is away to Ballyclare on Saturday and McConkey anticipates Stafford will be in his match day squad.
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