Stephen Kenny confident for season despite need for striker

Dundalk manager in talks with former Northern Ireland under-21 Thomas Stewart

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is confident ahead of this season but still feels his squad needs a striker. Photo: Inpho

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is confident ahead of this season but still feels his squad needs a striker. Photo: Inpho

 

Stephen Kenny has confirmed that he has had talks with former Northern Ireland under-21 international Thomas Stewart about a move to Oriel Park but the Dundalk manager insists that no deal has been agreed at this stage and nothing will be, at least until after the President’s Cup in Cork.

“I’ve spoken with Thomas and it’s one to consider,” he said of the striker who he previously worked with at both Derry City and Shamrock Rovers but who has, most recently, been playing in the United States with Ottawa Fury. “I’ll have to see. I think we have really good competition in defence and the same in midfield but I could probably do with adding a striker before the deadline.”

That is on Wednesday but Kenny says that if there an international aspect to a signing then it would probably have to be done a day or two before that so as to avoid any hitches with the required clearance.

Aside from his desire to add a striker, though, he believes the squad is in good shape as he and his players prepare to kick off the new campaign.

“Some of the lads who have come in are a younger crew and in a couple of cases what we’re doing is buying into their potential but overall I’m happy with what we’ve done and we’re looking forward to it now.”

Shane Grimes, who was restricted to the margins of the squad last season and then suffered a serious injury when he did get the chance to feature late on in the campaign, has just signed a new contract and is continuing to work his way back to fitness at the club.

But the bulk of attention will be on the new arrivals and Kenny’s ability to maintain the team’s place at the top of the pile, despite the loss of key players like Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Ronan Finn.

The team will face its toughest test of the preseason when they take on Cork City on Friday evening but neither manager will read too much into the game which Kenny goes into without established players.

Gary Rogers is four to six weeks away while David McMillan and Chris Shields are both out and Jamie McGrath is struggling a bit with shin splints but there will chances for others; Conor Clifford (who missed the game in midweek against Longford) will feature against Cork, he’s played in other preseason games and he’s been doing well.

“It’s a good idea, the President’s Cup” says Kenny who visited áras an Uachtaráin earlier in the week along with John Caulfield and a couple of players from both clubs to meet President Higgins.

“You’d have to say the league game in Turner’s Cross in a few weeks time in the more important game but this is good, I’m certainly in favour of the President’s Cup, it’s a good way to start the season and after them winning the cup final there should be a good crowd there for it. We’re looking forward to it.”      

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