Paul McAreavey has joined the coaching staff at Glenavon as assistant to Gary Hamilton. Paul, who was Chief Scout at Ballymena United, replaces Andy Mathieson who is departing the club after our game with Coleraine.

“Andy has been travelling an hour and 20 minutes each way to our training sessions and, with the pressure of this and his work commitments, he has reluctantly decided to leave,” Gary Hamilton explained as he informed of us of Paul’s appointment. “I’m devastated that Andy is going but when he told me of his decision a couple of weeks ago I totally understood. He’s been a personal friend for a long time, he has a unbelievable eye for a player and he’s brought some great young players to the club and through the system for us.

“He’s been a brilliant help to me since Windy left and he’s been very popular with all the boys. He will probably look to find a coaching position closer to home and I’d like to wish Andy all the best in the future.”

Gary explained that he has taken his time to ensure he could replace Andy and in Paul he says he’s got his man. “I’ve known Paul for a long time, I’ve played with him at various levels in the NI youth setup and he and I were at Portadown together. He’s done a great job scouting for Ballymena and he has a great knowledge of players, I know I can trust him and he’ll have my back, as did Andy and Windy, and I’m sure he’ll make a great coaching team along with Mark Ferguson and Kyle Neill.”

Speaking on Ballymena United’s website Paul said “(The opportunity) came out of the blue, but to work as a number two was an offer I had to take seriously. I see the relationship between David and Bryan and I’ve time now to replicate that and work on a team on the inside and make a real difference in the changing room and in training … when Gary came in with the opportunity it was too good to turn down.”