A new era got underway at Oriel Park this week as the Dundalk squad returned for pre-season training ahead of the upcoming SSE Airtricity League campaign.

A mixture of some new and very familiar faces were on show as the players were put through their paces by strength and conditioning coach Graham Norton, who has returned to the club after departing towards the end of last season.

After beginning the week with some fitness work, the balls began to appear more regularly with head coach Stephen O’Donnell, first-team manager Dave Mackey, assistant manager Padge Cregg and Liam Burns all having an input on the training field.

Cregg, who worked alongside O’Donnell at St Patrick’s Athletic over the past two seasons, was heavily involved in the sessions and speaking to dundalkfc.com after day three came to an end on Thursday, he said that the coaching staff were happy with how things had gone thus far.

“The quality has been very good and the application has been excellent,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of ball work with the running as well. All of the football is high-intensity stuff and stuff in and around the box.

“Naturally you’ll always be conscious of what condition lads will come back in but they’ve been tested and Graham is happy with all of their scores. We also know, thanks to our allegiance with STATSports, how much we can push them from a data point of view.

“The new lads have been welcomed into the group and there’s a lively atmosphere, which is massive,” he added. “That’s the kind of environment that Stephen and the rest of the staff want to create. We want to make it a place where you enjoy coming into work but there are demands on you.”

Check out Sportsfile’s gallery of pictures from pre-season training at the top of the page.