Dundalk FC head coach Vinny Perth says the club are not close to signing anybody despite links to several players in the last week.
Waterford’s Zach Elbouzedi and UCD’s Conor Kearns are just two of a number of names who have been linked to the Lilywhites in the last seven days with former defender Andy Boyle the main headliner as he weighs up his future following his release from Preston North End.
The Argus understands that the once-capped Republic of Ireland international has offers on the table from both Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, with an Oriel Park return understood to be his preferred option.
The centre half, who won three league titles at Dundalk from 2014 to 2016, won promotion to the SPL with Ross County on loan last season but is reportedly not keen on a return to Dingwall.
Despite the speculation, Perth deflected away from talk of a move for Boyle when it was put to him after Friday’s win over Sligo Rovers.
“I don’t think we’ve just been linked to Andy,” he said when asked where a move was at.
“I think today we’ve been linked to six players. I don’t read the media on match day but by all accounts we’ve been linked to six or seven players. I just think it’s people throwing darts and hopefully one of them will hit the treble 20.
“This squad is the best, I believe, in my time at the club so there’s no need for wholesale changes. If a good player became available, yes I’d approach the club but we’re not looking to massively overhaul the squad and if we signed everybody we’re linked to we’d be bringing in six or seven players so that makes no sense.”
Asked where he was in relation to any transfer moves, Perth said: “We’re nowhere close to signing anybody as it currently stands and I don’t see the need to be rushing out signing players. If someone becomes available we’ll discuss it with the owners to see what we can do.
“To be fair very few have come in in the window and actually been a big success. It’s a short period to come in and get ready so it can depend on their level of fitness.
“Unless they’re playing regularly I don’t know how they’re going to get into our team. If someone becomes available we’ll assess it but there’s no one almost about to sign or anything like it. We’re far from that.”
Looking ahead to Saturday night’s trip to face Finn Harps in Ballybofey (kick-off 8pm), Perth said his side had to be ready for a battle against a side who have ground out a 1-1 draw against the champions at Finn Park already this season.
“Mentally you’ve got to be prepared for a difficult night. We don’t know what way the pitch will be but whatever comes our way we’ll deal with it.
“The players have been on a good run of form and they’ll go up there full of confidence but it’s going to be a difficult night. Finn Harps have really got their act together over the last while.
“I felt we were unlucky not to win up there the last time. We hit the post late on in the game when it was easier to score but we just need to keep plugging away and focus on a game a week. That’s boring but at the same time we’ve got to do it.”
Nevertheless, speaking after his side’s 4-0 win over Sligo Rovers on Friday, Perth said he was delighted with the turnaround from his side since they lost 2-1 away to Liam Buckley’s side on April 12th.
“That was probably the lowest point of my seven years with the club,” he said.
“To be fair the players responded really well to that. They took that personally that night, as did I. I think we fixed a lot of stuff over the following couple of weeks. People will say we got lucky by scoring a few times in injury time but I don’t accept that. I think the two games we won in injury time we deserved.
“People might be a little critical of our performance tonight but we’ve won 4-0. At the same time there’s a lot of big games ahead over the next couple of months and we’ve got to be ready for that.”
While Friday’s result opened up a three point lead at the top over Shamrock Rovers, albeit with a game in hand, Perth said he took no satisfaction in it.
“Genuinely we can only control what we can. The one thing we very good at earlier in the season when we had games in hand was forgetting the league table. I said to the players we’ve got to forget the league table because of the way the league is structured at present with games in hand.
“We’re going to have no game in two weeks as it currently stands and the opposition will play on the same night. We can’t control that so you can’t be too high tonight because you’ve moved three points clear and then be very low when the other team win their game in hand. Tonight is just about another game and another three points.”
Perth also praised John Mountney after his first career hat-trick on Friday.
“There was a big moment against BATE Borisov away in 2016 when he came on at half-time for Patrick McEleney. If I’m not mistaken the guy he was marking was Stasivich, the left full. We couldn’t control him on the night and John sort of dealt with him that night and got us over the line so that we came away with a 1-0 defeat and obviously then the rest of history.
“He has been part of a lot of big moments in the club. I was delighted for him but in one sense goal difference is massive and Pat is our penalty taker but I’ll forgive the two lads for their love-in tonight. They’re very close the two of them but if John had missed it he’d have got it in the neck.
“Hat-tricks don’t come along too often. Daniel Kelly scored one earlier in the season to keep John out of the team on the Monday night against UCD and now John has done the same so if that’s the level of competition we have then we’re in a good place.”
After winning another two penalties on Friday to take the total to 11 for the season to date, Perth also defended the number of spot kicks his side have been awarded.
“Bar Michael Duffy’s up in Dalymount, which was a 50/50 decision where the player did push him even though it doesn’t look very clear on the camera, there’s very few I’d say are harsh.
“Pat was just about to shoot tonight inside the box and he was pushed over.
“The way the world has gone now we’ll have people sniping but I remember watching Liverpool in the 80s and they used to get penalty after penalty because they spent that long inside the opposition box that it’s inevitable. The pace we have in terms of Kelly, Mountney, McEleney or Duffy, who doesn’t actually win us a lot of penalties, it’s inevitable you’re going to get penalties. If someone wants to tell me which ones we got that we don’t deserve then fair enough but I think you’ll struggle to find one that wasn’t deserved,” he said.