Mitchell on board as Loughgall boss

Noel Mitchell (right) made his debut in the Loughgall dug-out on Saturday during defeat to PSNI. Pic by Phil Ray.
Noel Mitchell (right) made his debut in the Loughgall dug-out on Saturday during defeat to PSNI. Pic by Phil Ray.

Noel Mitchell’s arrival in the Loughgall hot-seat failed to produce immediate rewards on Saturday afternoon as an injury-time strike left PSNI with full points.

Mitchell had little time to impose his influence at Lakeview Park following a midweek appointment as Brian Adair’s replacement.

His focus over the next few training sessions and matchdays may prove divided between game preparation for a Loughgall side struggling for form and discussions with a playing squad considered vulnerable to attention from rival clubs given the Villagers’ disappointing campaign to date.

Daniel Burns’ departure was confirmed prior to the Bob Radcliffe Cup final on Boxing Day, with Chris Kingsberry opting to follow Adair out of Lakeview Park following the latter’s decision to resign from his manager’s post. Adair and Kingsberry have both agreed deals with NIFL Championship Two-based Dollingstown as players under the management of a former Loughgall midfielder, Gary Duke.

Club officials have revealed to the ‘Times’ positive feedback from a meeting with the players last week to discuss the future.

Neil Alderdice’s backroom position as part of the gaelic football team at Crossmaglen will restrict his availability but Ryan Moffatt, the Loughgall captain, added coaching and preparation to his responsibilities before the PSNI match.

Mitchell has been a familiar face at Lakeview Park due to his role within the Regions’ Cup selection panel. Marcus Dallas, the former Coagh player, is also on the books at Loughgall.

The experienced coach has appointed Stephen Uprichard as his assistant manager, the pair having previously worked together at Coagh United.

Loughgall lost out last weekend to a deflected injury-time goal but will be aiming for an upturn in fortunes tomorrow (Saturday) against Institute in the Irish Cup.

“I’m delighted that Noel and Stephen have agreed to become our new management team,” said Loughgall chairman John McCann in a statement on the club website. “They both come as highly-respected and experienced coaches in local football and everyone at Lakeview is looking forward to their arrival.

“We can now approach the remainder of the season with a degree of optimism and expectation.”

Kick-off will be 3 o’clock.