Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth is hopeful of adding further to his squad this week but admits there is every chance that there may be no further new arrivals at Oriel Park before the start of the season.
The Lilywhites flew out to Spain for a pre-season training camp on Monday but the 43-year-old will be working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring in new additions before the League of Ireland transfer deadline.
Asked about any possible new arrivals after his side’s 7-1 win over UCD on Friday night, Perth hinted there was a couple of things in the pipeline but said there was every chance they might not come off.
“There’s a huge amount going on,” he said when the question of ins and outs was put to him.
“I haven’t stopped looking at different bits and pieces but unfortunately it would be wrong of me to say anything other than we could have two new players signed next week and we could have none.
“If I end up at the start of the season with the squad I have then I think it’s still an improvement on last year’s squad and it’s certainly something that I’m willing to work with.
I’m very happy with what we have,” he said.
One possible addition is American trialist Taner Dogan, formerly of Harvard, who played the last half hour of Friday’s game against the Students.
Perth confirmed Dogan would travel with the squad to Spain and spoke positively about the midfielder.
“Taner has been in with us for a week. He is over from America.
“We’ve brought him over for many reasons, some other than football as well, so he is worth having around the place.
“He has grown into the team and the club. The intensity that he played at before coming here was completely different but he has all the attributes to be a really good footballer. He’s just someone who we’re letting watch us and we’re watching him a little bit at the same time.
“He’ll be on the trip to Spain and with us for the next week or two. Then God knows how long more. He’s someone that we’ll work with. There are many reasons for him being here and I’m very happy to have him around.”
With Aaron McCarey unavailable on Friday, former Dundalk goalkeeper Gabriel Sava also made a brief cameo off the bench but Perth said he was simply helping a former player out by allowing the Drogheda man to train with the squad while he searched for a new club following his departure from Bray Wanderers.
“Ultimately, the way I look at it is that Gabby is one our brothers and one of our team-mates. He hasn’t got a club at the moment so we’re going to try help get him fit and that’s what we’d do for anybody who has played for us, particularly in the last seven years.
“I think we owe it to them for what these people have achieved. Yes, Gabby didn’t start as many games as others but I’d do the same for any former player who needed help.
“Gabby asked me could he train with us and once I knew he hadn’t got a club I loved the idea of having one of our former players in and helping him.”
Perth said Sava’s reaction to the current setup at Oriel compared to when he left at the end of the 2018 campaign was a sign the club was moving in the right direction.
“I think he was taken aback because the club has gone up a couple of levels in that year or so that he has been away.
“I think that’s a fair reflection of what we’re trying to do so it’s great that one of our brothers could come back and say ‘wow’. That shows that we’re in the right place.”
Dundalk will continue their preparation for the league opener at home to Derry City on February 14th when they take on Romanian side CFR Cluj in Spain on Wednesday followed by a meeting with Russian outfit CSKA Moscow on Friday.
Perth said it would be a step up in standards for his side but hopes they can learn lessons from it with one eye on the Champions League qualifiers in the summer.
Asked what he hoped to get from the Spanish trip, Perth said: “Everything is ultimately geared toward our first league game of the season so I want to work towards that. That’s 80% or 90% of what the week is about but the other part is that the more we play against European teams and against teams of a higher level then the more we’ll learn from it.
“I went on a personal crusade to get these two friendlies for a reason and even if we lose 10-1 or win 10-1 next week, I think we’ll learn hugely from these two games.
“They’re perfect for what we’re looking for. It’ll be our fitness week because we won’t have as much of the ball and we’ll be at the pin of our collar at times. UCD, no matter who they play against, historically keep the ball a lot but we didn’t allow that tonight. I thought our pressing was very good particularly in the second half. In the first half we hadn’t worked on that shape so it was perfect.”
While not getting carried away with the 7-1 win, Perth said he took a lot of positives from his side’s win over the Students on Friday.
“It’s really important just to get minutes into the legs. People really just needed to be on the pitch a little bit in their own spaces. We trained really hard yesterday so I wasn’t expecting us to be as fresh but it feels like we’ve a team of fellas just chomping at the bit waiting to go but I just have to hold them back a little bit for the next little while.
“I was very impressed at times with some of our play but in other areas there’s loads to work on which is brilliant but it was a good night all round for everybody bar Sean (Murray) who had a twinge right at the end. We don’t think it’s too serious. It’s just a twinge but other than that I’m very happy.”
Perth also said he was excited by the potential of his experiment in playing three at the back.
“It was brilliant for us. I really liked it,” he said.
“Out of possession we were vulnerable but I expected that because we haven’t even worked on it bar a 15 minute phase where I showed them a team I’ve been studying who use that type of system.
“I was really happy with it because we created a lot of chances. It suited a lot of players. Daniel Cleary would thrive in it but Sean Hoare probably needs a bit of practice because it’s not his natural side but I’m really happy with it. Out of possession as I said we were vulnerable but you are more vulnerable when you’ve three at the back ironically but I really enjoyed it.”
Perth said he was also pleased to see Will Patching and Darragh Leahy chip in with goals on their debut.
“In particular I think Patching’s goal showed you his composure and what he’s about,” said Perth.
“It was just such a good touch and a simple finish. It looked so simple and that’s what makes it a great goal. There’s already little things that we’re working on that are starting to pay off but I thought that the three new lads coming in looked really good and they fit in very seamlessly.
“We were very impressed with that and the fact two of them scored was great because goals give players confidence.
“The key positive though was the sharpness, the way they got after the ball and the way they pressed. That UCD team are historically very fit and I know that team was fit tonight. We’re not going to be judged by beating UCD because ultimately they’re a First Division team but I thought there was a lot of positives in terms of our intensity and how we worked. The players looked like where they should be at this stage.”
Meanwhile, Des Dunleavy has been appointed the club’s new Player Liaison Officer for the upcoming season.