Sean Connor Update
The Lilywhite Lounge was packed on Thursday night with the latest Oriel Quiz Night organised by the DFC Ladies Committee. Competing in the quiz was new Dundalk FC Manager Sean Connor and his assistant Joe Miller. Dundalkfc.com caught up with the manager to ask him how the first week of pre-season training has gone.
Are you happy with the first week of pre-season training?
It has gone very well. It has given real life to the club. The last six weeks have been very hard work with a lot of travelling in the car. It was nice to get the squad together with 16 players at the first training session. For myself, I have been out of football for a year so it was something I was looking for.
It’s a case of getting them back and getting them prepared for some tough work in the week ahead. Myself and Joe are very much into injury preventation. So the first week has been slowly and surely building up so that they are ready for the tough training schedule ahead.
How are the new players settling in?
They all look very good. I know all these boys. As a group they have gelled really well and the atmosphere is great. A lot of people have remarked to me how physically big they are. But they are also good footballers.
How are the training facilities?
They are top notch. Better than most i’ve seen. We have also done a fabulous deals with Felda. It’s taking the club some time to get used to the idea of having a full-time team here. That’s to be expected as the changes have happened quickly. The changes will benefit the team and the club in the long term – both from a football point of view and from the perspective of benefitting other areas of the football club.
The move to a mainly full-time set up is both an exciting move and an unsettling move. Given the problems experienced in the league do you have any concerns?
I think what Dundalk fans have to realise is that Gerry Matthews has his head switched on. The infrastructure is in place. He’s given me a budget that was the same budget regardless who came in as manager. It’s not as if I am spending silly money. We are getting players in on full time within the budget set. When you have part-time players the club has to pay a lot of tax while the club has all the tax credits when they are full time. It’s not as expensive as people think.
Has the problems within the league made the job of assembling a squad easier?
It’s much more in favour of managers. I have gone through this process three times now. There are still seven members of the team I built at Sligo still there and nine are still at Bohs. I think I am good at putting together squads. We are looking to mix experienced players and young players as well as some players that nobody has heard before like Ettienne Barbara and Dwight Barnett.
Do you have any more transfer news?
I am just off the phone from a player in Scotland that I am very keen to bring in. I am hoping to call a press conference early next week for two new signings. We are virtually over the line with Chris Turner and just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on his contract. I think he’s the best attacking midfielder in the league. (Note: Chris was also at the quiz with Joe and Sean – we do not know how they fared in the quiz…)