| 12.8°C Dublin

'The club are not stupid' - Dundalk boss only focused on fixtures but believes plans in place to tie down best players


Dundalk's Michael Duffy is challenged by Waterford's Timi Sobowale. Photo: Sportsfile

Dundalk's Michael Duffy is challenged by Waterford's Timi Sobowale. Photo: Sportsfile

Dundalk's Michael Duffy is challenged by Waterford's Timi Sobowale. Photo: Sportsfile

New Dundalk manager Filippo Giovagnoli says he is sure that the club have plans to tie down their best players despite the contract uncertainly hanging over the Oriel Park dressing room.

More than a dozen players are out of contract and Giovagnoli, who arrived out of the blue to replace Vinny Perth on a short term deal, has said he does not have responsibility for securing their futures.

Michael Duffy was outstanding in last night's 3-2 win over Shelbourne and is understood to have interest from League One level in England along with clubs north and south of the border here. The failure to make firm moves on the Derryman's future has been flagged as an example of behind the scenes dysfunction with other players already receiving offers from elsewhere.

"I think that the club is going to make sure that the best players stay but it's something I didn't talk about with the club yet," said Giovagnoli, who admitted his immediate focus is short term with Dundalk facing a Europa League encounter with Andorran side Inter Club next Thursday.

"I have to check what the players do on the field. This is what the club ask me. The important objectives are so close that I can't think much about what is going to be in the future. I think the club are not stupid. They know who the important players are and they are going to make sure if they are going to stay."

The contingent in limbo includes multiple league winners Gary Rogers and Sean Gannon who were both left on the bench for the Shels encounter.

Aaron McCarey's selection ahead of Rogers was a surprise, although there was local speculation that the Italian was planning to go that way.

"I need to understand what all of the players can give to the team and the club," said Giovagnoli after a game that was notable for Dundalk increasing the extent to which they played out from the back.

"For me, this is like a long race and I need help from everyone. Everyone is going to be involved in the project. I don't want to leave behind nobody."

The 49-year-old is waiting for news on Patrick McEleney who sustained an injury in the warm-up. Giovagnoli suggested it wasn't too serious but the playmaker was downbeat afterwards having endured a string of setbacks since the 2018 FAI Cup final.

The Halfway Line Newsletter

Get the lowdown on the Irish football scene with our soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell and expert team of writers with our free weekly newsletter.

This field is required

Top scorer Patrick Hoban also missed the Shels game with injury, yet is confident of a European return.

"I'm not really happy with how we defended set pieces, this was the only problem we had," said Giovagnoli.

"It was an important win for the club, especially for the players because they need their confidence. When you have bad results, it's normal that confidence goes down.

"It (Thursday) is another final for us. Every game is a final. I am enjoying every single day. I would love to train tomorrow but unfortunately we are off. I think the players are progressing fast, they are professional and understanding the style we want to play. They are picking things up really fast."

Online Editors