Kenny keen to seal deals before Spain
SOCCER SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
DUNDALK manager Stephen Kenny is hopeful of having more new signings on board by the time his side fly out for a training camp in Spain next Wednesday.
The Lilywhites will fly out to their base in Salou on February 1st for five days to prepare for the start of the season.
While there they will play two matches, the details of which have yet to be fully confirmed.
As well as being useful for training purposes, such a trip will also allow new signings Sean Hoare, Niclas Vemmelund, Jamie McGrath and Conor Clifford bond with their new team-mates.
However, that quartet might not be the only new recruits on board the flight to Spain with Kenny admitting to The Argus on Monday that ‘we could have six or seven new signings in by that time.’
While the manager said it was his preference to have all his transfer dealings done before the training camp he said ‘he couldn’t guarantee that.’
One player expected to complete a permanent transfer this week is Everton winger Steven Kinsella, who spent the second half of last season on loan at St Patrick’s Athletic.
The club are also still hopeful that a deal can be arranged with Celtic for former Derry City winger Michael Duffy, who is currently on loan at Dundee where he has made just one start for the Dens Park side all season and hasn’t featured for the first team since October 26th in a 2-0 defeat at home to Partick Thistle.
Kenny is also working on another deal at present for what is believed to be another wide player.
While there may be new arrivals at the club this week, Kenny said he was pleased with how the first week of pre-season training had gone with those already on board for 2017.
‘Pre-season has gone well so far and the players have been showing a really good attitude,’ he said.
‘I’ve been very impressed with them so far. After such a successful season last year you never know how it will go, especially after such a short break, but I’ve been impressed with their application overall.
‘The more experienced players like Stephen O’Donnell and Brian Gartland have come back in good condition and are looking hungry, which is a very positive sign.’
Two players who have departed Oriel Park, at least temporarily, are Ciaran O’Connor and Georgie Poynton who have joined Finn Harps and Bohemians on loan respectively.
Speaking about the moves, Kenny said both players would benefit from their respective loan spells and offered them hope that they could return to the club in July by insisting they were still in his thoughts.
‘Ciaran and George are two good lads who have come through the youth system and done very well but they need games.
‘Ciaran has had a frustrating spell with injuries and it completely disrupted his season last year. Now he just needs to play.
‘We could have kept him as an option out wide but his best position is up front and it would have been hard for him to get game time for us there because we have David McMillan and Ciaran Kilduff who got 34 goals between them last season.
‘We just felt it would be good for both lads to go and get games but the deals are only until July and we have kept their squad numbers, 17 and 20, open.’
Kenny also insisted that it was difficult for young players not in the first team to find game time after they finished at U-19 level and said another underage league would benefit clubs across the country as the current gap between U-19 and first-team football was ‘massive’.
‘An U-21 league would be useful but there should be at least an U-20 league because at the moment there’s nowhere for young players to go after U-19 if they’re not in a first team. That can lead to them dropping down to junior football which is not what you want to see,’ he said.
Dundalk’s current pre-season schedule:
- Monday January 30th – Glenavon at Mourneview
- Wednesday February 1st – Sunday February 5th – Spanish training camp in Salou. Two matches TBC.
- Thursday February 9th – Leinster Senior Cup vs St Pat’s CY, Ringsend, 7.45pm
- Tuesday February 14th – Friendly vs Longford Town, City Calling Stadium, 7.45pm
- Friday February 17th – President’s Cup final vs Cork City, Turner’s Cross.