New signing Greg Sloggett has backed himself to force his way into the Dundalk FC first team this season despite being impressed by the midfield talent at Vinny Perth’s disposal since his arrival.
The 23-year-old made his debut as a second half substitute on Friday night against former club UCD having completed a transfer from Derry City before Christmas.
The club’s new number 10 put in a decent shift as the Lilywhites ran out comfortable 7-1 winners on the night and while being impressed by the performance of others, Sloggett said he is determined to be heavily involved in the first-team this season.
“Absolutely but I knew that coming in,” he said when asked about the quality of opposition at the club.
“I came here to test myself against the best day in and day out and be part of the best in the league because I see myself as that. I hope to nail down a starting position and as the season progresses we’ll see how that goes.
“I was just delighted to get my first game and my first minutes. I was a bit nervous before getting going but I settled in nicely and it was a comfortable victory on the night. I felt we all put in a good shift and it was a good first base to get some fitness into the legs.”
Sloggett said he has enjoyed his first couple of weeks as a Dundalk player and feels he will benefit more than most from this week’s pre-season camp in Spain where the Lilywhites will train as well as take on CFR Cluj on Wednesday followed by CSKA Moscow on Friday.
“I guess I’m still settling in and still getting used to how the lads play. I’ve played against them many times but it’s a little different playing with them so I’m just getting familiar with that but I thought it was a good first run out.
“They’ve made me feel so welcome. Everything here is brilliant on site. All the facilities and the way the players are looked after, it’s a very professional setup. It’s the best I’ve experienced in the league so I’ve nothing but excitement now for the season to come.”
The Meathman said he couldn’t wait to test himself against sides who are regulars in the group stages of Europe this week.
“It’ll be a step up in terms of opposition,” he said.
“They’re two good teams to test ourselves against, particularly looking ahead to Europe this season and I know Vinny has that in mind with his opposition selection.
“He wants us to test ourselves against the best and in CSKA Moscow and CFR Cluj we have two of the best in Europe so we’re really looking forward to that now.
“It’s something to get us warmed up and back into the run of things. I know CSKA are in the middle of their season so that’s without a doubt going to be a tough test but it’s good to have a warm up exercise like that tonight and get familiar with the other lads on the pitch.”
As he looks ahead to the start of the season, Sloggett admitted to having a cheeky grin to himself when the fixture computer selected his old club Derry City as Dundalk’s first league opponents on February 14th.
“I was asked about this previously,” he smiled.
“Last year I played UCD in the first game as well so it’s something I’m used to.
“It’s something that I’m looking forward to and it’ll be an exciting first game no doubt.”
With fellow new signings Will Patching and Darragh Leahy scoring on Friday, Sloggett joked that he had to get his act together, particularly now he is wearing the number 10 shirt vacated by Jamie McGrath.
“I thought about that after Darragh scored,” he laughed when asked about his fellow debutants scoring when he didn’t.
“I’m not a renowned goalscorer but it would be nice to chip in at some point. The most important thing is that all the lads put in a good shift tonight so we’re delighted.”
On his jersey number, Sloggett said: “I’m a good friend of Jamie’s and he has moved on and I was looking for a number so hopefully I can live up to that expectation.”