Dundalk head coach Filippo Giovagnoli is hopeful of having a full squad available for the start of the season next month.

At present up to half a dozen key players have yet to train with the rest of the squad due to injuries of varying scale.

However, speaking to The Argus on Sunday, Giovagnoli said he was confident almost all would have a good chance of being back either for the President’s Cup tie with Shamrock Rovers on March 12th or the league opener away to Sligo Rovers eight days later.

The article as it appeared in The Argus on February 16th 2021

He said: “We have injuries that we’ve carried over from last year with Pat Hoban, Sean Murray and Daniel Kelly and even Mickey Duffy has something from last year.

“They are the ones that we have to observe more right now to make sure we have them back in March.

“Then we have a few minor injuries like Brian Gartland and Patrick McEleney but they’re really minor injuries and it should just be a matter of a few days.

“The four that I mentioned are the ones that are going to take a little bit longer but still I think I’m going to have them available for the President’s Cup or at least the first game.

“They are progressing a lot but we’re not going to push them or risk anything but I think by the middle of March we’re going to be in a different position.”

The Italian said that, despite those six absentees, pre-season training had gone well so far with the club’s five new signings all settling in well.

“They have completely confirmed the idea that I had about them,” he said of the new arrivals.

“They are doing well and they have a lot of potential. They’ve shown already their potential. They’re going to do well in this league and they’ve come here really motivated to do well. They are young players and I think that they can build a good future in Dundalk. They’re going to perform.

“I’m happy about all the new players. All of them are really good. We lost some players but we’ve replaced them with really good quality. To be honest, I’m really, really happy and this is just the start for them,” he said.