Abibi to wear number one jersey but not guaranteed starting role at Dundalk

Abibi to wear number one jersey but not guaranteed starting role at Dundalk

Alessio Abibi will wear the number one jersey for Dundalk this season but has not been guaranteed the starting position by head coach Filippo Giovagnoli.

The Albanian is currently the only goalkeeper on the books at Oriel Park following the retirement of Gary Rogers and departures of Aaron McCarey and Jimmy Corcoran at the end of last season.

However, The Argus understands that two new goalkeepers could be signed this week.

One of those is likely to be a loan signing of a player from a Championship club in England with the Lilywhites understood to be closing in on a deal to bring over 6ft 7in goalkeeper Corey Addai from Barnsley.

The article as it appeared in The Argus on February 16th 2021

Dundalk are also expected to hand a deal to one of the two out of contract goalkeepers who are training with them at present.

Former Huddersfield Town, Galway Utd and Cork City netminder Tadhg Ryan, who was at Waterford last season and 2014 title winner Peter Cherrie, who was released by Derry City at the end of last season, have been taking part in pre-season at Oriel Park in recent days.

While Ryan is the younger option at just 23, 37-year-old Cherrie is thought to be ahead of him in the pecking order for a contract at present.

The Scot – who still lives locally – made 237 appearances for Dundalk between 2009 and 2014 having arrived from Clyde. Since departing Oriel Park, Cherrie has played with Cliftonville, Bray Wanderers, Cork City and Derry City but could now be set for an emotional return back to a club where he was hugely popular amongst fans in the early part of the last decade.

Asked about the two trialists, Giovagnoli said: “They are doing well. We are probably going to decide this week what to do with them.

“They’re doing well. They’re good people and good players. They’re working hard and we like them both. We’re going to decide this week but I’m happy with what I see from them. They’re really good players.”

Asked would Abibi be his number one at the start of the season, the Italian didn’t give a firm commitment that he would be.

He said: “With a coach like me, I’ll play who deserves to play. The pitch is going to talk. We have to do the best for the club.

“If Alessio is the number one it’s because he is the best at the moment or it’s going to be another goalkeeper. That’s not a problem. Let’s see who is going to be the other two goalkeepers and then they’re going to fight for the spot, like all the other players.”

Despite this, Giovagnoli dismissed rumours which spread via social media last week suggesting Abibi had failed to settle in Ireland and had already departed just a month after his arrival.

“I don’t even know what the rumour is but Alessio is doing really well and he’s happy,” said the coach.

“He’s a really strong, modern goalkeeper. He’s a big size, really aggressive and he is something that is just different than the profiles that are here in Ireland. We are really happy with him. He is doing well and he’s working hard. He’s a really hard worker.

“Alessio is going to do really well,” he said.

One goalkeeper who did depart last week was American underage international Alex Rando, who opted to return Stateside to pursue a scholarship rather than accept an offer at Oriel Park.

On the player he had worked with in New York, Giovagnoli said: “Alex is a really good goalkeeper. He came and we were going to offer him a contract but he had this thing with his college and he spoke with his family and in the end they decided it would be better to go back to the college.

“For American players sometimes this is the decision they have to make and we respect that. It’s fine. We’re going to get other goalkeepers with competitive profiles, there’s no problem.”

Giovagnoli hoping to add two more goalkeepers to his ranks after Abibi capture

Giovagnoli hoping to add two more goalkeepers to his ranks after Abibi capture

Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli is hoping to add two further goalkeepers to his squad before the start of the new campaign following the capture of Albanian Alessio Abibi last week.

The 24-year-old Italian born player joined the Lilywhites last week as a free agent having most recently been on the books of Albanian side Kastriot.

Dundalk are close to adding a young American goalkeeper to their ranks – understood to be 19-year-old US underage international Alex Rando – while Giovagnoli confirmed that a more senior keeper was also on the radar to provide competition to Abibi.

The article as it appeared in The Argus on January 12th 2021

Asked about further goalkeeping arrivals, Giovagnoli said: “Yes, we are looking with Jim (Magilton) at other profiles.

“We already have one that is coming from America. This is a goalkeeper that I know, who grew up in the professional academy there. He has another really good profile. He is really young but really good. He is big and good with his feet.

“We are trying to find the kind of goalkeepers who will fit in with our style of play.

“We’re going to sign another goalkeeper because we want to have three and then they’re going to fight for the (number one) spot but Alessio can play without a problem in this league. He is really young but he already has a lot of experience from playing internationally, in Italy and Albania. He’s a guy at 24 years old who grew up in a professional academy and has already played in three different countries so he is really mature.”

Giovagnoli revealed he had personally scouted former Tirana goalkeeper Abibi and has high hopes for him at Dundalk.

“Alessio is one of the goalkeepers that I was scouting. Then after a while scouting, he was the one we felt had the characteristics that we were looking for.

“He’s big, strong, really good in the air and he has already played in teams who like to build up from the back so he’s good with his feet and comfortable doing that. He is really young and has a really good profile. I think he is going to have a good career,” said Giovagnoli.