With the spotlight already on Dundalk over their coaching structure, Shane Keegan is well aware that the club must challenge for the title this season as a bare minimum requirement.
Last year a disappointing league campaign saw the Lilywhites finish 22 points off new champions Shamrock Rovers in what was a curtailed 18 game campaign.
This year getting the crown back is Dundalk’s top priority and Keegan is well aware that nothing short of a title challenge will suffice.
“It would be crazy if you said anything else,” said the Laois man.
“The position that both ourselves and Rovers are in now you can’t be anything but aiming to go and win the league title.
“Last year you’d have said at the start of the year that if we finished as far off the league title as we did then it would have to have been a very disappointing season but then you look at everything else that went on and I won’t say the season balanced out but we had a lot to be happy with and positive about too.
“About the only way we could have got to the end of the season with some smiles on our face was to achieve what we achieved both in Europe and the FAI Cup but now I think the focus is very much on retaining the league title.
“Of course, we’ll still be trying to do other bits and pieces as well and do well in Europe and try get another Cup run but trying to retain the league crown has to be the number one priority that’s for sure,” he said.