Monday 26 September 2016

Boyle warns Dundalk will face fight to keep hold of star assets

Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30

Andy Boyle has been a defensive stalwart for Dundalk
Andy Boyle has been a defensive stalwart for Dundalk

Andy Boyle believes it is inevitable that Dundalk's star players will attract attention over the winter but says the lesson of this year proves that Stephen Kenny will be able to cope if that scenario comes to pass.

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The loss of last term's top scorer Pat Hoban was viewed as a massive negative for the Lilywhites' chances of retaining the title for the first time in their club's history.

However, they are almost within touching distance of doing so, holding an 11-point gap at the top of the table with five matches left to go.

Kenny feels that Boyle, his defensive linchpin, should be attracting interest along with attacking stars Richie Towell and Daryl Horgan. The player himself is modest about his own prospects, yet he knows that clubs across the water will be monitoring their assets.

"I'm sure there will be interest for players from overseas," says the Dubliner.

"I can't tell you if anything is going to change but if we can keep this group of players together I think we can be successful for a long time."

Improving

"We are improving. I think our technical ability definitely came up this year. It's something that we've tried to bring to a different level - a lot of people (also) talk about our fitness levels.

"Losing our biggest players would be hard to replace but I'm sure it's something the manager will have legislated for," continues Boyle, who was speaking after being voted onto the special League of Ireland cover for EA Sports' FIFA 16.

"The best players in the league do obviously go across, but we've got a manager who's able to recruit very well as we've seen.

"A lot of players when they first came to the club probably wouldn't have been household names in the league and have gone on to do alright."

Another possibility is interest in the manager himself, given the manner in which he has revived the fortunes of the Louth club. He did have a stint with Dunfermline which didn't go to plan but the centre-half doesn't think that should count against him.

"Stephen has done an unbelievable job and I'm sure it's been recognised throughout football," he says.

"It would be a massive thing if we lost him but it's something at the moment that we can't think about. I think he's contracted for at least another year. If we can keep him for as long as we can that's the main thing."

It was a bad day in Scotland for an ex-League Of Ireland boss, however, as Motherwell sacked former Sligo supremo Ian Baraclough.

Irish Independent

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