Head coach Vinny Perth believes new signing Greg Sloggett is “everything that a Dundalk player is” having wrapped up his signature from Derry City last week.
The 23-year-old, who scored against his new employers in the FAI Cup this season, put pen to paper on a deal at Oriel Park on Friday after his contract with the Candystripes expired.
A native of Meath, who went to school in Drogheda, he will bring added steal to the Dundalk midfield with Perth delighted to wrap up his first signing of the close season.
He said: “I’m really excited about that one.
“He’s somebody that we just felt it just wasn’t right this time last year. We were really strong in that position I felt but to be honest with you for me he’s just everything that a Dundalk player is. When I spoke to him, he really impressed me.
“He has had so-called bigger offers and had other suitors but for me he has taken a very brave decision to come here because not once did he ask me would he get into the team and that’s often the case with players but not once did he say it.
“I think all great teams are made of great people and he fits exactly what we’re about I think. His behaviour off the pitch is going to be exemplary. I’ve been really impressed by him.”
While both Robbie Benson and Jamie McGrath are expected to depart Oriel Park for St Patrick’s Athletic and abroad, Perth said reports linking club captain Brian Gartland with a move away were “nonsense”.
He said: “We have got a couple of players out of contract but, first of all, the world has gone crazy. The story about Brian Gartland is just people guessing. It’s just nonsense.
“Robbie and Jamie are both out of contract. These things take time. Both could be at the club and both could be gone but the difference with Dundalk now is that we’re actually very well prepared if both of them decide their time is up and if both of them decide to stay we’re ready.”
With Dean Jarvis also expected to leave Oriel Park, Dundalk have been linked with Bohs left back Darragh Leahy and fellow Republic of Ireland U-21 international Zach Elbouzedi, who also has interest from Shamrock Rovers and the UK. A further midfield addition is also expected in the next week or so.
While preparations have already turned to next season, Perth was honoured for his role this year when he was named PFAI Manager of the Year at the annual PFAI Awards in the Marker Hotel in Dublin on Saturday night.
Speaking moments after collecting the award, the 43-year-old said it was an honour to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Stephen Kenny.
“It means the world,” he said of the award.
“I’ve just obviously come off the stage and I haven’t even mentioned Stephen. Time flies by so quickly but his name is on this award for the last four or five years with John Caulfield thrown in once so to follow in them footsteps is massive.
“When you come to these awards and you’ve sat beside Stephen for so long for seven years and even at the Soccer Writers’ for years, you do think of being there one day. You look at the names of the winners of these awards and I’ve always dreamed of being among that. I think you have to dream.”
Perth praised his players and staff for helping him to such a prestigious honour but said no one would be resting on their laurels at Oriel Park.
“To do it in the manner in which we done it with this group of players, I’m really proud. I’m proud to represent our club and the management staff. I’ve said inside that to have a Championship winning side, you need Championship winning staff and I think we’ve got that.
“There has been an envolution in the squad but the bottom line is that come January everything starts 0-0 but I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved this year. We’ve been forgotten about a little bit over the last week and I understand that but there’s still a lot of hurt from the Cup final last week in the group but we’re champions. We were champions by 15 points the night we won it and I keep saying to people that we need to remind ourselves that we’re champions of Ireland. Say it loud and say it proud and enjoy it.
“I’m going to enjoy this moment and a couple of other moments that I’ll have personally over the next month or two before we get back going again.”
Perth admitted the award was special for those people who supported him in his debut season in management.
“Ultimately if you said to me you can win the league next season but you’re not going to win any awards well I’ll take that now if it’s on offer.
“I felt that the mistake I made in the early part of the season in my own head was that I felt I had to prove myself to people and prove people wrong but really I don’t. I just have to make my family proud and people like Mike Treacy who has really backed me. Genuinely this award will mean the world to those people.
“I don’t care what anyone thinks of me at Drogheda, Derry, Rovers or Cobh and I mean that in the most humble way. One thing I think we’ve been brilliant at at this club has been being humble and accepted defeat when it has come and managed the plaudits when they’ve come as well.”
Perth said he was now looking forward to his second season in charge.
“Absolutely. I’ve got a lot of challenges ahead. There’s been an evolution in the squad this season and you’re starting to see people like Daniel Kelly and Dan Cleary come to the fore. Sean Gannon is not up for Young Player of the Year anymore, he’s a senior player so you’re starting to see an evolution of the group. Ultimately that’s my job to manage that.
“There is challenges there but I repeat that we were 15 points clear when we won the league. I think that’s a fair reflection of where we are. Now it’s up to us to stay in that position as much as possible. That’s the job,” he said.