Former Northern Ireland international Ivan Sproule will undergo a medical at Ferney Park tomorrow (Tuesday) before completing a loan move from Linfield to Ballinamallard United until the end of the season. The 34 year-old from Castlederg should be available this Saturday for Ballinamallard’s second trip to Coleraine Showgrounds in eight days, this time in the 5th Round of the Tennent’s Irish Cup.
Ivan was signed by David Jeffrey for the Blues in December 2013 after a successful nine years playing in Scotland and England. He has scored five goals in 31 appearances for Linfield but has been limited to only 12 appearances in the Premiership this season where his only goal was the winner at Dungannon Swifts in October. He also featured in the Linfield side beaten by Ballinamallard in the League Cup at Windsor Park in November.
Ivan Sproule first established himself in Irish League football over a decade ago with Omagh Town and Institute before moving to Scottish Premiership club Hibernian in 2005. Well known for his explosive pace he scored 12 times in 71 appearances for the Edinburgh club including goals at both Celtic Park and a famous hat-trick at Ibrox. He won the Scottish League Cup with Hibs in 2007 before his departure to Bristol City where he made 119 appearances in three years including the 2008 Championship Play-off Final at Wembley. After loan spells at Yeovil Town and Notts County he returned to Hibs in 2011. Ivan spent 2013 at Ross County where he scored eight goals in just 24 appearances before chosing to return home to Northern Ireland.
Ivan made his senior international debut as a substitute in Northern Ireland’s famous 1-0 win over England in a World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in September 2005, and scored his only international goal on his starting debut in a friendly at Windsor against Estonia the following year.
Ballinamallard manager Whitey Anderson said, “I am delighted to bring someone of Ivan Sproule’s quality and experience to Ferney Park at this time. Ivan still has the hunger and passion for the game to make a significant contribution to our season and I am confident he can bring goals to the team during the run in. He has always looked after himself and I know he is in great condition. By all accounts he still possesses that yard of pace that we have been lacking and I know he is keen to do well. That is what we need going into the final months of the campaign and I hope the fans will turn out to watch him.”