Dundalk manager Vinny Perth has welcomed the confirmation that his side will be in Champions League action in mid-August.
UEFA confirmed last week that the first qualifying round for the 2020/21 season would take place on August 18th or 19th with the first three qualifying rounds in the Champions League set to be one-legged affairs.
With no date set in stone for the return of the SSE Airtricity League, Perth said that having a concrete date to work towards would give the players something to focus on following their recent return to training.
“There was a concern about Europe, of that there was no doubt,” said Perth.
“Four weeks ago we probably didn’t see anyone flying in or out of Ireland but most of Europe is open now, which is good.
“It’s a real positive to have confirmation of what is happening. It’s a goal date that we can work towards and plan towards and it’s really good to have that. It gives us a target.”
Perth said the prospect of Europe on the horizon would keep players focused over the coming weeks.
“It has been fine for the first couple of weeks because ultimately they’re just glad to be back on the pitch but I’m not sure how long that would have been the case if there was no return date for the league and Europe wasn’t there or thereabouts.
“Now that we have a date the players will have to stay focused because little things like making the match day squad will become important now because we have probably more in our squad than can make the match day squad for Europe.
“Players will have to play themselves into form now but fortunately we’ve got the strength in depth in our group that even our own personal training for the last couple of weeks, the quality has been of the highest level so much so that we’re willing to play each other in 11v11 games over looking for friendlies.
“As much as we want some friendlies, we believe we can get enough quality from playing amongst ourselves for the first couple of weeks anyway.”
Perth confirmed that 11v11 games in training were permitted from this week.
“We’ve got the permission to do it from this week but it is within reason. There’s a certain amount of things like corners and free kicks into the box where there is real physical contact is not overly recommended but 11v11 is now permitted,” he said.