Banbridge Town have signed Rathfriland Rangers goal-scorer Ally Wilson.
Their new forward says he can provide the fire-power needed to shoot them up the league table.
Town finished sixth in Championship two last season, scoring 60 goals, 30 less than champions Armagh City.
Wilson hopes he can become their central force up front.
“I’m confident in my ability and that I can succeed at any level,” he said. “Like anything, you maybe take a wee while to settle but I know everyone in the changing room and it shouldn’t take me too long.”
Boss Ryan Watson agrees:
“Last year, we did have problems finishing teams off or having that player to make the difference. I’m confident Ally will make that difference.
“He is a local player who is capable of playing at a higher level. He has that hunger that I want in my players.
“I have expectations of him, like any other player in the changing room. I expect him to keep those standards.
“We have a very tight-knit dressing room and we work hard together. Ally’s buying into that vision and what we want to do as a club.”
Wilson, of course, joins from Rathfriland Rangers, where he was no stranger to finding the back of the net. He twice broke their season scoring record, netting a startling 51 goals in the 2011/12 season and an even better 53 in 2012/13 before he earned a move to Lisburn Distillery.
He returned to Rangers after Christmas and was back in the goals before deciding to give it another go in Championship football.
“I’m a Banbridge guy and I’m more than delighted to have signed for the club,” he told the ‘LEADER.’
“It came about once I knew my time had come at Rathfriland. I spoke to a couple of clubs but deep down, I always wanted to come to Banbridge. I spoke to Ryan (Watson) and said that I wanted to play in my hometown so when the opportunity arose, there was no problem.
“I absolutely loved my time at Rathfriland. I got with the committee but this is a brand new challenge for me now. I can’t wait to get started.”
Town boss Ryan Watson is hoping his new forward can hit the ground running and says Wilson will add much on and off the pitch.
“I’ve been looking for a quality striker that I know can finish,” he said.
“Ally is a real goal-scorer. He’s one of the best in the business at this level at holding the ball up. He’s a gifted player and we know what we’re going to get from him.
“He’s a player with experience of scoring goals. We’re hoping he can be another leader on the pitch and bring the other guys on.
“He has seen what we’re trying to do at the club and what we did last season. He wants to be a part of that and is here to achieve success.
“He wants to win things and achieve something. He liked what I had to say and I liked his attitude. It’s a big encouragement to the club and to the other players. It’s great to see that people want to come on board with what we are doing.
“He’s a big coup for us and we’re delighted to have him at the club.
Town recently had an EGM to discuss the club’s financial situation and with the AGM coming up on Thursday, Watson says he’s concentrating on matters on the pitch.
“I have no influence on what goes on in that side of things,” he said. “I can only concentrate on getting the right players in and getting the best out of them on the pitch.
“Hopefully things will progress on that front. I know there is a lot of work going on and there are a lot of people putting the effort in. Hopefully that can go hand-in-hand with progress on the pitch.”
And striker Wilson is hoping he can fire Town on to success.
“You don’t want to build yourself up to get shot down and the boys did really well last year but if Ryan gets one or two more in, we should really be having a good go.”
And as regards getting those one or two extra recruits in, Watson’s remaining tight-lipped.
He said: “I am actively looking but they have to be players who will improve what we have, who have been there and done it but who also will help to bring on the young guys that we have.
“I’ve got a few irons in the fire. Some guys have said they’ll come down to pre-season training and see how things go. I’ll be working hard to get a couple more in.”