Perth Hopeful that Flores is Beginning to Bloom
Dundalk manager Vinny Perth was full of praise for midfielder Jordan Flores who produced an impressive 45-minute cameo in Thursday night’s Malone Cup win over Drogheda United.
A series of injuries meant that the 24-year-old endured a frustrating first season at Oriel Park, making just 11 starts, but after a winter of hard work, which saw him incorporate some wrestling into his sessions, Flores has been one of Dundalk’s shining lights in pre-season.
After coming on as a half-time substitute against the Drogs, the former Wigan star opened the scoring with a powerful downward header and his composure on the ball and range of passing was there for all to see as the Lilywhites ran out 2-0 winners.
“Jordan’s return makes it feel like we have a new option,” said Perth. “He has unbelievable quality and we’ve always regarded him highly at the club. Whenever he has been fit, he’s been in and around the team and this is the fittest he looks. Touch wood it’s a big season for him.
“He had a lot of injuries last season but he has been brilliant in pre-season and has really hit the ground running. He was able to work so hard in November and December because he didn’t finish last season and we’re really happy with where he is.
“He was outstanding when we were in Spain and European football really suits him. We need to keep challenging him and make him better and get him up to speed with our league.”
Georgie Kelly’s late goal settled a dour game but after a gruelling schedule of training, both in Spain and at home, Perth said that it was no surprise his players were slightly off colour.
“I thought there was a little bit of staleness,” he said. “We played two European sides last week and we were on a high. When we came home, we trained the players hard on Tuesday and Wednesday so this was their third day in a row and I didn’t expect it to be free-flowing.
“There are areas of improvement and the players know that but I’m very happy with the number of chances we created. Not taking them doesn’t overly concern me at the moment. That will come.”
With the President’s Cup tie with Shamrock Rovers looming large on Sunday week, Perth said all of his players would get more valuable game time in the friendlies against Crusaders and Longford Town on Monday and Tuesday respectively.
“This is an opportunity for players to get close to 90 minutes,” he said. “We have a few areas of improvement and a few people need some more game time so this is the perfect opportunity for us.”