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Mathews: I need funds

SHELBOURNE manager Alan Mathews admits he will have to lose players from his squad before he will be in a position to add fresh faces to his squad.

Shels restart the League of Ireland campaign following the mid-season break tonight when they take on reigning champions Shamrock Rovers, Reds fans knowing that a win would see their side go joint second in the table.

A number of players are on the market for a manager who has some spare cash in his budget, with former League of Ireland men like Anto Flood (ex-Southend) and Paul Keegan (ex-Doncaster) among the players who are currently without a club, while the entire squad from the now-defunct Monaghan United are up for grabs.

But Shels boss Mathews accepts that no new faces will arrive at Tolka Park until he lets some of his current squad go.

"I'd like to be able to freshen things up in the window, get some players in, but I'm not in a position financially to do that," says Mathews.

"There are players around. I have the option of bringing in a couple of players from Holland. A contact there has recommended a striker and a midfielder and that's something we will consider but at the moment we don't have the money.

"And I won't have the room to do that unless I can move players on. I have spoken to other managers and they are all in the same boat, money is tight so it remains to be seen if there is movement. But whatever happens I will stay within my budget.

"Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers seem to be the only clubs who have a bit of leeway in terms of their squads, you look at Rovers signing Pat Sullivan (above). But the rest of us have to do a lot of work before we can add players," says Mathews, who admits that his squad are still a bit away from where they need to be if they are to stay in the top three.

"We're in a decent position, we're joint fourth with Derry but we need to do an awful lot of work to push on, we have to improve in a lot of areas.

"In this league if you can get a few wins you can move up quickly and you could be in a position to challenge very quickly, just as you could be dragged down if you lose two or three games.

"We go joint second if we win tonight so that's a huge incentive for us," says Mathews, hoping for a better outcome than the last meeting of the sides as Rovers hammered Shels 4-0 in Tallaght Stadium earlier this season.

"We didn't get anywhere near them in that game and didn't do ourselves justice. We were a goal down within a minute and then gave away a bad goal and we had no way back. We didn't play well so I think we have a better chance of doing something tonight.

"That was back in March and we didn't do ourselves justice, but it's not a case of a revenge match. We just want to get the points.

"We have done well in recent games and had a great win in Derry in the last match before the break. We were very good up in Derry, we deserved the win and kept a clean sheet so I'd hope to see more of the same tonight.

"If we play well and if everyone does their job, I'm sure we can come up with a good performance."

Shels are in a position to recall Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley after a long spell out due to injury, but Philip Gorman is a doubt and Glenn Cronin is suspended.

Rovers are missing Killian Brennan and Stephen Rice through suspension while Pat Sullivan could feature after re-signing for the Hoops after a spell in Australia.

"The squad has worked very hard during the break. Now they need to apply themselves in tonight's game and show just how hard they've worked," says manager Stephen Kenny.

"We are expecting a tough game against Shelbourne and the team will need to perform well if they are to get a result.

"But they know that and are keen do well in the game and get the win."