Dundalk boss Vinny Perth is hopeful his side will play their first game since March on Friday week July 10th with Derry City the likely opponents.
The 43-year-old is in the process of lining up a series of friendlies for his side to help prepare them for the hoped for return of the SSE Airtricity League on July 31st and the Champions League qualifiers in mid-August.
While he does not wish to advertise the games pencilled in as yet, the Lilywhites manager said a return to action was on the horizon.
“We’ll probably play the first game on Friday 10th July,” he said.
“We’ll play our first 11v11 in-house game on Friday as well just among ourselves.
“We have friendlies lined up but we just won’t be announcing any just yet. That suits any club we’ve spoken to.
“We’re very close to being able to announce some but they’ll probably only be the week we play them.”
While talks regarding a possible return of the league had failed to reach a conclusion once again last week, Perth said he and his side were still working towards an expected return date of July 31st.
“I don’t think it’s a trade secret that we’re working towards July 31st,” he said.
“I expect that that is when some sort of a league will be back. We’re not sure what it will be but the players have to be prepared for that.
“We’ve also got to prepare to be ready for Europe. We’ve lost the advantage of summer football but the one thing we’ve never done is being caught out for fitness in the close to 40 games that I’ve been involved in with the club in Europe so we have to make sure we’re there on that as well.”
Perth said training had been going well so far.
“We’re at the start of our fourth week and we really haven’t had an injury. We’ve had a couple of small things with Gary Rogers and Sean Hoare but they’re nothing major. John Mountney has returned to training so in that sense I’m really, really happy. It has been a perfect pre-season.”
Alan Reynolds was officially unveiled as the club’s new assistant last Tuesday and Perth said he had already made an impact on the training pitch.
“Alan is an experienced person around the league and for too long Irish coaches have been undervalued. I think he’s someone who is very experienced but he has come in as if he has been here for a long, long time so we’re very happy so far.”
The manager also welcomed the addition of Joshua Gatt to the squad and said the twice-capped USA international would be given a chance to prove himself despite having his career interrupted by four major knee surgeries in the last seven years.
“Josh has got until the end of the season,” he said.
“The lad deserves a chance. He’s someone who is very experienced but he’s had a lot of bad, bad luck and things haven’t gone his way. No matter who you are or what you are in life you need a chance from somebody.
“Many times in my career I’ve had a chance from different people so I think he’s worth a chance. He has been brilliant around the place so far but we’ll see where it ends up.”
Asked was he concerned about the 28-year-old’s previous knee problems, Perth said: “There’s no doubt that there’s a history there. We’ve taken that completely into consideration but he deserves a chance and we’ve given him a chance so we’ll see where it goes.”
Meanwhile, Cameron Dummigan has reported back to training with the club after his loan spell at Crusaders came to an end. Republic of Ireland underage goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran has also been training with the side following his release from Preston North End. The 18-year-old Meath man could be signed as a third choice behind Gary Rogers and Aaron McCarey as he is also eligible to play at U-19 level for this season and next but is also understood to have other options.