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Dane Ballard signs contract extension with Deveronvale as trio transfer-listed

Dane Ballard, right, has signed a new contract with Deveronvale
Dane Ballard, right, has signed a new contract with Deveronvale

Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart is thrilled striker Dane Ballard has penned a contract extension.

The player, who has netted 11 goals this season, has signed a deal to keep him at Princess Royal Park until the summer of 2024.

Ballard’s extension is another piece of good news for the Banffers after midfielder Max Stewart also signed an extension until 2024 at the weekend.

However, captain Ross Aitken, Matthew Wallace and Kyle Willox have been transfer-listed after opting not to sign new contracts.

Ballard has been finding the net again this season after returning to action following 18 months out with a knee injury.

Boss Stewart said: “Dane has signed a new two-year contract and I’m delighted.

“Dane is getting back to his best, he’s still got a wee bit to go, but he’s looking a lot sharper in training and in games and has scored 11 goals, which is a good return.

“He’s had a wee hamstring problem in the last couple of weeks, but that’s another boost to us that he’s staying.

“Dane’s huge for us, because he’s a goalscorer and they’re not easy to get.

“Having him available probably guarantees you 15 or 20 goals a season and that’s what we need.

“Dane has a lot of experience and he’s champing at the bit to get back to his best after his 18 months out and he’s certainly got off to a good start this season and hopefully it continues.”

Stewart has a bright future

On midfielder Stewart also signing an extension, the Deveronvale manager added: “I’ve been going round the boys and getting things tied up and Max is one with a bright future.

“He’s only just turned 18 and he’s been with us for a couple of years.

“He’s progressed in that time and he’s getting used to playing adult football.

“Max has done really well and it’s about how we manage him, we don’t want to chuck him in every single game and burn him out.

“There’s still a lot of learning for him to do as well, but I’m delighted he’s signed for another two years and I think he’s got a bright future.”

Hunter interests Vale

Stewart also hopes he may be able to add to his squad.

Former Inverurie Locos striker Andy Hunter played as a trialist in Vale’s 10-0 win over Fort William on Saturday and scored a hat-trick.

Stewart is keen to sign the attacker, and said: “There will be other clubs interested and Andy needs to make up his mind in terms of what he wants to do.

“But we’ll make him an offer and I think Deveronvale would be a good place for him to play. It’s a good environment with a good group of lads.

“I think Andy could do very well for us, but there will be other clubs interested, so we’ll have to see what he decides.

“There’s a few factors to his decision and he did very well on Saturday, which was no surprise.”

Trio transfer-listed

Skipper Aitken, 24, midfielder Wallace 23, and defender Willox, 23, having been placed on the transfer list.

All three are out of contract next summer and had been offered new deals but have indicated they are not prepared to commit to Deveronvale at this time and as a result have been placed on the transfer list.

Interested clubs should contact Vale via email on deveronvalefc@highlandleague.com or contact club chairman, Jim Mair directly.

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