Glenavon Football Club can confirm changes to the first team coaching staff.

The club is sorry to announce that Kyle Neill has left his role as First Team Coach.

Meanwhile, Chris Atkinson, who coaches the club’s U20 side, will make the move into the first team set-up.

Kyler first joined the Lurgan Blues from Glentoran in 2010 and made around 200 appearances for the club.

During his time at the club he won two Irish Cups, including scoring a memorable 40-yard strike in the 2014 decider against Ballymena United.

In 2017 he decided to retire from top flight football and returned to Portadown, where he made his name and who at that stage were playing in the Championship.

However, he was back at Mourneview Park in 2019 when he was appointed First Team Coach.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton said that Kyle’s departure was a purely personal one.

“After spending over 20 years spending his Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays involved in Irish League football he has decided to spend more time with his family and take a year out of football,” Gary said.

“It’s a big blow to us, to the first team and to the club itself. Kyle has been around the game for a long time and he’s somebody that I have a lot of respect for, what he has achieved in the game and since he’s come in as a coach he has been very highly respected by the players, the staff and the board.

“That said, we completely respect his decision. After a year out he might change his mind and if he did we would certainly look at bringing him back as he is valuable in the changing room.

“What he has given to the club has been amazing and we can’t thank him enough for everything he has done. We wish him all the best and, of course, he’s also a personal friend of mine above all else.”

Gary said that he had moved to appoint Chris, who has been with the club and worked from under 10s right through to the U18s and U20s, after being impressed by his track record with the club’s young players.

He added, “I think it’s very important that the coaches at the Academy also see that there’s a pathway for them. If they’re good at their job then there is a route for them into the senior set-up, just as there is for young players coming through.

“We’ve done it before with Fergie [Mark Ferguson], who came to the club to coach the U19s and then the U20s. Now he’s into the first team.

“I’m delighted that Chris has been a success story with the Academy. He’s somebody that I think is an excellent coach and who is very good with young players. He has a good way about him and he’ll fit in well with the rest of the staff.”