It's been my most difficult summer says Gary Hamilton

The countdown to the new Irish League season began in earnest on Thursday as the transfer window officially opened.

By Steven Crawford
Friday, 10th June 2022, 5:00 pm

Over the last couple of years with the new investment coming into several teams there has been a lot of excitement about potential deals in the offing.

Last season we saw two reported six-figure deals between Danske Bank premiership clubs as well as some other high-profile moves.

But while some may be thrilled by the flurry of transfers for others it has made their job harder.

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Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton knows the importance of the market but fears it is now developing into the haves and the have nots.

Hamilton, who celebrated a decade in charge at Mourneview Park last December, said recruiting for this window had been his most challenging to date.

“It’s proven to be the most difficult summer that I’ve had, even from January onwards because you’re usually trying to sign players on pre-contracts,” he told the club’s Youtube channel.

“I know even from talking to Oran Kearney he’s having the same problem and is finding it really difficult to attract players because, as great as it is for the league, the big clubs are raising the value of players and their wages.

“Clubs like ours can’t get anywhere near what players who are being released from Larne or Glentoran [are looking] and they’re probably the type of players with the sort of quality that you would want to add to your squad.

“Unfortunately they’re out of our bracket so we just have to grin and bear it and get on with it.”

The Lurgan Blues boss has already secured three signings to bolster his squad for next term.

Rory Brown, Sodiq Oguntola (pictured below) and Conor Kerr have made the switch to Mourneview Park but Hamilton admits he has had to be more creative in his recruitment.

The Glenavon boss hopes tapping into the southern market on the recommendation of former player Tony Grant and Shane Dolan will pay dividends.

“There are no players in this league who are out of contract who would interest us at this minute in time, that’s being brutally honest,” Hamilton said.

“The players who are would interest us we couldn’t compete for financially.

“That’s the problem and the situation we are in. That’s why we are looking to the southern leagues and the Leinster Senior League because the quality isn’t up here that we can afford.

“We’ve had to broaden our net and we’ve talked to another couple of players down there.

“There’s nothing finalised and we don’t know if there will be anything finalised but we are doing a lot of work down there through Tony Grant and Shane Dolan.

“Hopefully we can add another couple of players. It’s certainly not for the want of trying.

“We’ve brought in a striker, a right back and a goalkeeper so far, we’ll keep casting the net afar and try to get some more in.

“Whether it happens or not we’ll see as it’s a difficult market as I keep alluding to.

“If we weren’t able to get anyone else in I think we’ve got a decent squad at the minute, I’d just like to add some more quality, but it’s not easy.

“Every day we are putting numerous hours into phoning people and using our contacts to try and get players in, and hopefully we do.”

Hamilton is also keen to retain as many of his current squad as possible and he was delighted that Andy Hall and Andrew Doyle committed to the club again.

“The two of them have been great professionals for this football club over the years and have put a lot into the club,” he said.

“Andy Hall has been a great servant for this football club and Andy Doyle is everything I love in a player – the way he trains, the way he talks to players, his attitude, desire and hunger and I think he’s been a great signing since he came to the club.”