DFC | Gill: Lilywhites hoping to add ‘one or two’ more before transfer window closes

New first-team coach thrilled with performance at Turner’s Cross

Dundalk first-team coach John Gill has confirmed that the Lilywhites are hoping to bolster their squad with ‘one or two’ additions before the League of Ireland transfer window closes on February 22nd.

Aaron McCarey, Daniel Kelly, Jordan Flores and Sean Murray have all arrived at Oriel Park during the close season but nine of last year’s squad have departed with Lithuanian midfielder Karolis Chvedukas moving to Waterford last week.

The champions have made a move for UCD’s Liam Scales, who was named in Stephen Kenny’s home-based Irish U21 squad last week. The young defender is keen to join Dundalk in a deal that would see him loaned back to the Students until the end of the season but the player’s representative is hoping to keep the 20-year-old at Belfield with a view to securing him a move across the channel.

“We’re actively working on one or two more and hopefully we can get them over the line before February 22nd,” said Gill. “I think everybody has strengthened around the league. St Pat’s have invested heavily and brought in some very good players, Shamrock Rovers, Cork, Derry have even strengthened.”

Dundalk go into Friday night’s league opener against Sligo Rovers full of confidence after beating Cork City in the President’s Cup at Turner’s Cross. New head coach Vinny Perth named the same XI that started against the Leesiders in last November’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium and Gill said the Lilywhites management team were delighted with the display.

“I thought we were excellent, particularly in the first half,” he said. “We were really at it, we looked fit, strong and sharp and we did everything we wanted to do. We’ve got new lads integrating into the group but you can see the old dogs there tonight, they know each other's games inside out. In the first half, we looked like a well-oiled machine.

“It was always going to be a different type of game in the second half but I thought we controlled it. When you come to Turner’s Cross and defend The Shed end, teams drop a little bit deeper, and we did that but I thought we saw the game out well. It was a good half, for a different reason to the first where we showed real quality. In the second, we dug in and showed a different side of our game.”

The victory was enough to give Dundalk their first President’s Cup win since 2015 and Gill felt it was important to begin the post-Stephen Kenny-era by making a statement of intent.

“People may say it’s only the President’s Cup but you’re laying down a marker. We’re letting people know that we haven’t gone away. The former leader may have gone away but it’s business as usual.

“It’s been a seamless transition,” he added. “It’s mainly down to football players. Sometimes managers get too much credit when things are going well and too much stick when it’s not going well. We have a different structure here now. We’re working well together and the players are in a happy place. At the moment, all is good.”

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