Glentoran have completed the signing of former Portadown striker Darren Murray, on a deal that will run initially to the end of the current season.
The forward had signed a 2-year-deal with Portadown in May after signing from Crusaders, but his stay lasted just six months as he was released by the club.
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton said Murray was ‘unable to commit fully to the demands that we ask of all of our players’ following his release in November.
Murray previously played under Glentoran manager Ronnie McFall, in his first stint at Portadown between 2012 and 2016.
McFall, speaking to the club’s official website, said Glentoran needed a target man, and a player to take the weight off the likes of Robbie McDaid, Curtis Allen and Paul O’Neill for the remainder of the season.
“I’m pleased to have signed Darren until the end of the season. He’s had a few training sessions to give us a chance to have a look at him and I’m happy he’s in good shape and has done well so far.
“Where the club is right now we badly need a target man who can hold up play and bring others into the game, plus score his share of goals.
“Darren is a good player and a natural scorer who will strengthen us but also take the weight off Robbie McDaid, Curtis Allen and Paul O’Neill for the second half of the season,” McFall said.
Glentoran currently sit seventh in the Danske Bank Premiership, and McFall explained he believes there is no risk in signing Murray, calling him ‘one of the best in the division’.
“I know Darren has had a difficult couple of years but he played for me for three and a half years and in that time he scored 70 goals in around 120 appearances.
“Even last season he scored 14 goals in the Premiership and this season he got 5 goals in his last 6 matches for Portadown.
“There’s no risk in signing Darren as a player because I think he’s one of the best in the division and exactly the sort of forward we’ve needed here for quite some time,” McFall explained.
“Any risk is on the fact that after the past couple of years Darren needs to prove he can settle down and get back to his best at the level he should be playing at.
“I’ve got a very good relationship with him and have always found him easy to work with so I’m confident he’s worth giving the opportunity to prove himself.
“After that it’s down to him. It makes sense for us to take advantage of the opportunity to sign a player of this proven ability on an initial short-term contract.
“If it works out then we have a top player on our hands here,” McFall said about Murray, who will be eligible to play for Glentoran beginning with their Irish Cup fixture on January 5th.