Dundalk head coach Filippo Giovagnoli has no concerns over the ability of his new signings to blend into the squad before the start of the season.

So far all five of the Lilywhites’ new recruits have come from abroad with Alessio Abibi arriving from Albania, Erik Ole Midtskogen and Sonni Nattestad joining from the Faroese league, Raivis Jurkovskis coming from Latvia and Scottish midfielder Sam Stanton signing having most recently been on the books of Phoenix Rising FC in America.

That level of overseas recruitment is unprecedented for the SSE Airtricity League but speaking at an FAI-organised press conference to announce Bank of Ireland becoming an Associate Sponsor of the SSE Airtricity League last week, Giovagnoli backed the new recruits to hit the ground running.

The article as it appeared in The Argus on February 9th 2021

“I think with a full pre-season it will go well,” he said.

“When every year starts there are challenges but let’s be honest this is a new start for Dundalk but we are not afraid to take this challenge at all.

“The profile of players that we were looking for, these are profiles that we feel can adapt to the league. They’re players that want to do well and progress. They like being here and they were interested to come here and this is what we were looking for – people really motivated to come and work hard and play.

“It’s a challenge that we take.

“The players that have left, for the majority it was their decision to leave the club so there’s nothing we can do about that, but we are replacing quality with quality because the players that came in are really important.

“They’re players with international experience but they still have a young profile. I call them maturely young players.”

The Italian said the new signings had been “really good” in the first few days of training.

“They’re really good even in the locker room. They’re good people and they love the players that were already here in the squad.

“They’re doing really well in practice but I had no doubt about that. Now we’ll start to do some tactical work and give them some detail in the way that we want to play but we have time.

“We have six to seven weeks to prepare so I think we’ll be able to explain to them how we want to play so that will be fine.”

Giovagnoli added he was not concerned that clubs could not yet organise pre-season friendlies but said the club would do this “as soon as we can.”

He added that a number of the club’s young talents had also hit the ground running in pre-season.

“We started in pre-season with a few talented Irish players from our academy and I am impressed with some of them and they’re going to keep on training with us. I’m really impressed with two or three of the young talents coming from our academy.”

He added that there would be a big focus on the academy going forward.

“There’s a massive objective on the academy,” he said.

“This is also my background so for me I’m delighted to help to do that and I’m going to be really connected with our academy to do that.

“We’re going to invite consistently players to train with the first team. Today we had a player that was (born in) 2005 and a couple from 2003 so we are really focused on that.”