DUNDALK say they remain hopeful of agreeing a compensation deal for Mark Griffin which would see the talented striker renew his partnership with Michael Rafter at Derry City.
Griffin has made no secret of wanting away from Oriel Park and as far back as November the Candystripes expressed an interest in signing the out-of-contract 21year-old, but because he is under the age of 23 Dundalk are entitled to a Uefa compensation fee.
The Lilywhites reportedly placed a value of €25,000 on the player, a sum described as 'excessive' by Derry manager Declan Devine, and it would appear at this stage that the clubs are no closer to an agreement.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Dundalk director Ciaran Bond said: 'Mark is a free agent but under the Uefa solidarity agreement we are entitled to compensation. He has been offered a much improved contract to stay at Dundalk, but he has refused that and wants to go elsewhere.
'Derry have made us an offer, but it's nowhere near what we think he is worth. We are miles apart, and if the worst comes to the worst a tribunal could settle it, but we would like to think we would do a deal with Derry.'
Meanwhile, pre-season training will start next Wednesday, by which time Bond hopes that Stephen Kenny will have added 'another three or four players', bringing the total up to 17 which is close to the maximum the club's budget will allow for.
Dundalk's arrangements in terms of pre-season friendlies should be confirmed by then, although Bond stated that the club intended to play Wexford Youths and Finn Harps at home and play two games in the North before facing Drogheda United in the Jim Malone Cup on March 1st, the week before the season begins.
Pre-season ticket sales had reached just short of 200 by yesterday lunchtime, which is already ahead of the final amount for the 2012 campaign, a development which was naturally welcomed by Bond.
'What's interesting about the figures is that 50% to date are new season ticket holders, and that's ahead of February which is the month when most are sold traditionally.
'We are well ahead of target and that's because the first three or four fixtures are very appealing, and the fact that we have an extra home game make season tickets value for money.
'Another factor without a doubt is the stature of the manager we have appointed, and also the fact that the club is in new hands. There seems to be a buzz about the town.'