Newly-confirmed Glentoran boss Gary Smyth has wasted little time in making his mark at the Oval - by signing one striker and singing the praises of another on the books.
Smyth is preparing for his first game as Glentoran manager with the visit on Saturday to Crusaders in an Irish Cup fifth-round tie.
Smyth and Paul Leeman stepped forward following Ronnie McFall’s resignation on Thursday, with the former promoted from his previous role as assistant manager to take up the main post at the troubled club.
The Glens turn to cup commitments aiming for an upturn in form following the worst league run in the club’s 137-year history.
Smyth is hoping two strikers from the January transfer window can play key roles in a strong second half of the season following the completion of Darren Murray’s registration and deal to bring Poland-born Lukaz Gwiazda to the Belfast outfit.
Murray reunited with former Ports boss McFall on a pre-contract agreement and Smyth returned this week to his Harland and Wolff Welders roots to snap up Gwiazda.
“Darren Murray is available to us now his registration has gone through,” said Smyth on the official Glentoran website. “I didn’t know Darren until he came in but Ronnie has spoken very highly of him.
“He’s been very sharp in training, is a nice lad, has shown a great attitude since coming here and has fitted in well.
“‘Leeper’ (Paul Leeman) and I are delighted to have him because he’s a very good player with a very good scoring rate.
“I’d ask our supporters to give Darren a fair chance to establish himself here as he has all the attributes necessary to help get us back to the top in time.
“I can also announce that we’ve also brought Lukasz Gwiazda to the club.
“I signed Lukasz for the Welders at the start of last season and he did very well for me.
“We signed him as a central midfielder where he was doing well then when we had an injury crisis we moved him upfront and he was also a success there.
“He’s been having a very good season, with nine goals scored, so I was very keen to get him in and recommended him to the club.
“He’s a strong, tall player who’s 24, has an outstanding work-rate and is strong right across the midfield as well as upfront.
“We’ve signed him initially until the end of the season and I’m confident he’ll impress.
“For the rest of this window we still want to get in a couple more players who can strengthen the starting line-up.
“If we can get the right quality of player in then we’ll make sure we can do it.
“If that means moving a few out to accommodate them and provide the money within our wage cap then that’s what we’ll do,
“Finally, I’d ask the supporters to get well behind the players right from the start on Saturday.
“Despite our results, the Glens support has turned out in fantastic numbers, especially in the bigger games.
“‘Leeper’ and I know as well as anyone what this club means to its supporters and East Belfast so rest assured we’ll be doing everything possible to get us back to where we need to be.”