Having been involved in much of the scouting process over the winter, Dundalk team manager Shane Keegan never doubted the quality of player the side were signing when they looked abroad for new recruits.
The one fear the Laois man had was whether the club’s foreign imports would settle here.
It might be very early days in their Oriel Park tenures but the answer to that is pretty good so far. While the new signings will ultimately be judged on their performances on the pitch, Keegan feels they’ve made a smooth transition into the dressing room since reporting for pre-season training just a few weeks ago.
“I think you have to be happy with them so far because you know, you’re looking at them on video before you sign them and you think they look good and then you’re bringing them into training and they look good again but you’re still not really sure until you actually put them out on the field and you see how they perform on the pitch and how they get on with teammates and how they handle the rough and tumble and style of the league and all that kind of stuff.
“I know we didn’t have Sonni and Ole today but the rest of the boys, the likes of Sam, Raivis and Junior, have done very, very well again so you’re kind of at the stage now with two good performances in them that you’re thinking right these fellas are going to be well able for it here and there’s going to be no hassle with them, that’s for sure.
“They look, to a man, like we’ve got a good group of them and as important as what they’ve done on the field is they all seem to have really gelled with the group which, I’ll be honest with you, that was my concern.
“There was so much work being done in finding the right quality players that there was never any question marks in my mind anyway over whether they were going to have the quality or not. My question mark was will they fit into the dressing room, will they gel, how will they find Ireland and how will they find Dundalk and all that kind of thing especially given the current environment we’re all living in but thankfully that’s the bit that’s gone really well.
“They’re great craic in the dressing room, they’re getting on really, really well with everybody and they’ve taken to it all no worse than bringing up a fella from Cork would.
“I think they’re all in a good position to make a big, big impact from the start and it has to be from the start when you look at the quality of the opposition in the first few games,” said Keegan.
Indeed, the former Galway Utd boss believes that Dundalk could have an element of surprise in the early weeks of the season as opponents struggle to work out the club’s new signings and their tendencies.
“100% because players can get figured out I suppose but it takes a period of time to figure them out or maybe a couple of seasons to figure them out so yeah the lads are going to have an element of surprise that will work in their favour,” he said.