Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth says it is unlikely that he will make any further additions to his squad this side of Christmas.
The PFAI Manager of the Year has already added midfielders Greg Sloggett and Will Patching to his squad since the end of the season but told The Argus that it is unlikely any further deals will be completed before the New Year despite ongoing work behind the scenes.
“No I don’t see anything pre-Christmas,” he admitted.
“There’s a lot of work going on at the moment. We’re very close to one or two bits or pieces but they can take two, three or four weeks because as I said if anyone we sign is under contract they’re not available until January 1st.”
Perth said he was pleased with the number of players already signed up for next season at this stage.
“We’ve a little bit of work to do but we’ve a lot of players signed. It’s a very calm time for us. We’ve been working on a lot of stuff.
“Will Patching just didn’t happen overnight. We’ve a lot of things that we’re working on but it will probably be nearer January before the squad is actually finalised and we’ll see what comes up and what doesn’t come up as well. The year we signed Daniel Cleary it came very late in pre-season. There’s always stuff like that which can happen so we’re in a very, very strong position. 90% of our squad is signed at this stage, if not more so we’re very strong,” he said.
Despite reports emerging at the weekend that Dundalk had completed a deal for Bohemians left-back Darragh Leahy, Perth dismissed them as “nonsense”.
“That’s nonsense,” he said.
“Darragh Leahy is still under contract to Bohemians at the moment. I’m not sure when that runs out but no, absolutely not. Players will be linked to us and good players of that level will be linked to us but Darragh Leahy hasn’t signed for us. He’s still under contract to Bohemians so it is physically impossible for Darragh Leahy to be signed for us. That’s nowhere near down the road to be honest.”
Perth said he was also due to speak to the out of contract Jamie McGrath this week as he continues to weigh up his future.
Asked was there any update on the Meathman’s future, the head coach said: “No nothing.
“We’re due to have a chat towards next weekend but a lot of lads have been on holidays for a week or two. Again, Jamie can’t sign for anyone until January anyway so it’s all the same for us or anyone else. This is a very quiet time for players’ signatures. Officially you can’t do anything until the 1st December anyway.”
On the signing of Patching, Perth said he was excited by his potential.
“We’ve been following him for a long time. We seen him play live a couple of months back and he’s someone that we were very excited about.
“He has a lot to do still in terms of the fact he is only a young lad but it’s very seldom you get a 21-year-old who has such an upbringing in football. He has played a lot of first-team football for obviously Notts County and under 23 football with Man City so we hold him in high regard. He’s another forward player but we feel we need something different in that area so he ticks a lot of them boxes.”
While he admitted there was a bit of a risk to the signing, Perth reckons the former England underage international will shine in the League of Ireland.
Asked was it a bit of a gamble, the 43-year-old said: “You just don’t know.
“Many top Irish footballers have not had the upbringing he has had in football. He is 21 and he has played league football already and he has played under 23 football already so he is certainly ahead of a lot of 21-year-olds in Ireland in terms of what he has done so far in his career.
“Every player you sign is a risk, even League of Ireland players. There is an element of risk to it but we’re confident that this one will work out with us.”
Coming from Manchester City, there will be obvious comparisons between Patching and his former Man City team-mate Jack Byrne but Perth feels Patching can make his own impression.
“There will be comparisons to Jack Byrne and maybe Patrick McEleney, who played at the same level as him as well not that long ago.
“Physically he was well able for it but he just didn’t suit the manager’s style at the time but when we seen him we liked a lot about what he had about him. It’s wrong to say he’s like Jack Byrne or Patrick McEleney or anyone like that. He’s well able to stand on his own two feet and in time that will come. Very few players hit the ground running in Dundalk. It normally takes a while. We’ll be patient with him and get him up to speed in understanding our league very quickly and move on from there,” said Perth.
Meanwhile, Dundalk are expected to launch their new Umbro-designed home jersey next weekend. While exact details had yet to be confirmed at the time of going to print, Perth confirmed it would take place in the coming days.
“I think it’s pencilled in for Saturday,” he said.
There’s a bit of work going on in the background for that. We’ve done some photoshoots over the last couple of days but the players are starting to return now so you’ll see players on the ground around the club and in the community over the next couple of days and I think a few of them have already done certain things.”
Finally, Perth sent his condolences to the family of 11-year-old supporter Daragh McNally, who passed away after a battle with cancer on Sunday.
“It’s awful news. I know he has met a lot of the players in recent times.
“He’s the exact same age as my own son and would have had some of the same difficulties as my own son so it has really hit home with me today to be honest with you. I found today really difficult in that sense. It does make you think. We’ll reach out on behalf of the players and staff in the next sort of day or so and if there’s anything we can do we’ll obviously do it but we can only be there to support them. There’s not a lot else we can do. It’s just terrible news. Really sad.”