Stephen Bradley not interested in who’ll be calling the shots for Dundalk

Shamrock Rovers boss interested in how new players from overseas settle in

Stephen Bradley says he has no interest in who actually calling the shots in the opposite dugout when Dundalk travel to Tallaght for Friday night's President's Cup game,with the greater priority being to get an early sense of how all of the new players are settling into a major rival's team.

"I have more things to worry about here than to be worried about who is picking their team," he says when asked about Dundalk's claim this week that Shane Bradley will have more than just the title of manager this year with Filippo Giovagnoli said to have been effectively demoted while he waits to get on a Pro Licence course.

“I think the tea lady could pick the team up there and it would be a good team given the standard of the players in the squad. It’s a squad full of internationals. I think they were on record last year as saying they expect to have the best players because they pay the best money so I think anyone could pick a decent team from the squad of 20 odd that they have.”

With several of Dundalk's new signings coming from overseas, however, the Shamrock Rovers manager admits this game will provide a useful insight as to what he should expect when the league gets going next week.


“A lot of the players you would know before they sign them because maybe you would have been offered them or asked to have a look at them before,” he says. “So, you’ve heard about them and it’s okay looking at them on there (Wyscout or other, similar research tools) but then you have to see them in the team that they are going to, in their system, how they are being asked to play.

“You could look at a player (online) and his whole game might be running in behind but the team he is going to want him to come to feet so it’s totally different; you have to see how he settles into their system, that’s why tomorrow will be good, having a look at the new players in their system.

“You’ll see their habits and the patterns and what they do and get a good read off them. When you are looking at just an individual it can be a bit misleading compared to putting them into an actual system and watching them play in it.”

The league champions are without Neil Farrugia, Sean Kavanagh and Lee Grace for the game although Bradley says two of the three would have been involved had there been points at stake on Friday evening.

"Neil is the only one," he says. "Sean and Lee, if it was a league game tomorrow both would be available but we're not taking chances with Pats next week. Darren Dillon has done an excellent job in that regard with no injuries. Lee and Sean are impact injuries.

“We’ll be ready to go,” he continues. “The core of the group was already here. The changes we made, we predicted quite a few of them, the ones we knew would happen. We were ready for that. It was important we kept the core group together and we did that.

“I don’t think it’ll be the case of taking us a couple of months to gel or bed us in. Tomorrow is our eighth game of pre-season so we’ve had a lot of time on the pitch. The main thing in pre-season has been getting our fitness levels and getting that chemistry without picking up injuries and we have done that.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times