John Mullane thinks Kilkenny could be a force this summer but relegation in the league is a real possibility
A depleted Kilkenny begin their 2018 national league with a trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Brian Cody's men will have to hit the ground running, according to John Mullane.
The Waterford legend believes the Cats could be in for a tough league campaign with many of their top stars sidelined.
Speaking on Independent.ie GAA podcast 'The Throw-In' in association with Allianz, Vincent Hogan revealed that Kilkenny were training with an extended squad of around 50 to try and unearth some fresh talent.
Mullane thinks the pursuit of new blood should be foremost in Cody's mind and Kilkenny will be a force in the Championship but they may relinquish their Division IA status in the league first.
"I think you have to have the greatest admiration for Brian Cody. A lot of pundits are out there and a lot of former players in Kilkenny have said that he should have maybe stepped away," he said.
"I stated this last year. I could see the writing on the wall last year and I got a small bit lambasted for saying it. The easiest thing for Brian Cody would be to walk away and hand over the reins to someone else for a bit of a rebuilding job. But he's not, he taking the challenge on board.
"For me, I think this could be a sticky league for Kilkenny and with the personnel they are going to be down in the league like Richie Hogan, TJ Reid, Paul Murphy, Colin Fennelly, Michael Fennelly retired... that's five of your top class players.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they are in the bottom two and might be relegated.
"I think what Brian Cody will want to get from this league is to pick up three or four players because I think they have the nucleus of a decent team. They have 10 or 11 top quality players.
"I think Brian Cody will look to the league and try and unearth four or five players and come the summer he'll try to kick on.
"I think they will still be a match for anyone come the summer."
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