IRISH LEAGUE: McAllister hoping for ‘fresh start’ at Crusaders

Mark McAllister.
Mark McAllister.

Mark McAllister is keen to kick-start his Irish League career with a switch to Crusaders following Portadown frustration across the past two years.

The 29-year-old striker has confirmed a pre-contract agreement to sign for the Crues as part of Stephen Baxter’s summer plans towards reclaiming the Danske Bank Premiership crown conceded yesterday to Linfield on the final day of the campaign.

“I loved my first year at Portadown and we reached the cup final with some quality players,” said McAllister. “The past two years have been difficult for many reasons, I know I’ve played my part in those problems alongside other circumstances and, ultimately, it has been so frustrating.

“Basically my career has stagnated the past two years and a fresh start is required.

“I’m out of contract this summer and have had other offers but was impressed by what Stephen Baxter had to say and now my focus is on getting fit over pre-season.

“I’m not stupid, I know from the outside people will think it’s a strange move given Crusaders’ forwardline has been so settled.

“But I know when fit and sharp I can play my part and am excited about the opportunity of the one-year deal with Crusaders.

“I think going into that dressing room, after so much success the past few seasons, will motivate me.

“The past few years have been a disaster so I need this move for many reasons, especially due to the injury problems.

“My focus now is on getting fit in time for pre-season and training hard with Crusaders to help the club moving forward.

“I’ve just turned 29 so feel I have a lot left and am relishing this challenge.”

McAllister’s move to Shamrock Park may have failed to fulfil the expectations of player and club but he is keen to see a return to a strong Portadown.

“There are a lot of great people connected to Portadown and I would love to see the club back in a better place,” said the Portadown-born McAllister. “I wish the fans and club all the best for the future and think Niall Currie is the ideal choice as manager for the current situation.”