Cork City return to pre-season training on Saturday, with manager Tommy Dunne expressing optimism that there will be further additions to the squad in the near future.
At the end of last season, players were given individual fitness programmes to work on over the close season, and Dunne says that this will allow him to concentrate on ball work in pre-season: “The purpose of giving programmes to the players over the off-season is to ensure that they come back to training in good physical condition. Obviously we will still be doing fitness work, but we will be working with the ball rather than just running guys up hills as you would have done in the past. Our aim is to have the players ready to perform at a certain level, technically, tactically and physically, and as a part-time club, I obviously don’t have as many training sessions with the players as I would like, so if they come back with a good level of fitness, it allows us to hit the ground running.”
“I believe our resources in terms of training facilities are as good as any club in this league, and we will be looking to make maximum use of these over the next six weeks. We have a couple of fitness coaches who will be working with the lads as well, and combined with their off-season programmes, I am confident we will be in good shape for the start of the season.”
Dunne also confirmed that the club will be likely to play at least five fixtures in pre-season. Along with the trip to face Waterford United in the Munster Senior Cup, near neighbours Cobh Ramblers will provide the opposition at Bishopstown on Saturday, January 29th at 2 pm, while Sporting Fingal will visit the same venue on Sunday, February 20th, also at 2 pm. Details of the club’s other pre-season fixtures will be announced in the near future. Commenting on the schedule, Dunne said: “We’ve got some strong teams coming down to play us in pre-season, probably the best set of pre-season fixtures the club has had in a number of years, and it will be a help to us as we look to start the season well.”
With thirteen players now contracted to the club for the 2011 season, Dunne is still keen to add a number of new faces to the squad, and he told CorkCityFC.ie that he expects news on new signings shortly: “We have the basis of a very good squad, but we are always looking to improve on that. We are looking for quality and experience to bolster a squad that, in the circumstances, did well for us last season. Putting the squad together has been an ongoing process for the last few months, and we have spoken to a number of players; some work out, some don’t, that is the nature of the game.”
“We all know the importance of this season, when we will be one of a number of teams with aspirations of promotion, but we have to be diligent and prudent in our dealings and remember that this is about the future of the club, not just one season. I am currently speaking to four or five players that I would like to bring in to the club, and it is now about trying to get those deals over the line, and I hope that I will have news on these later on in the week.”
Dunne also confirmed that captain Cillian Lordan will not be with the club for the 2011 season, after accepting a job offer abroad. The City boss said: “Cillian has been offered a job in Holland, which he has accepted, so he will not be back with us this season. He is a true professional and from my point of view, he will be badly missed. He’s a good player, but he is also a positive influence in the dressing room and on the training pitch. The fact that he played with a knee injury last season and never complained shows the character of the man for me. Although he was a full-time pro for a number of years, he continued with his studies and he is leaving to further his own career. There is a possibility that he may be transferred back to Ireland at some point in the future, and the door will always be open for him to return. On behalf of myself and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Cillian for his contribution to Cork City and wish him the very best of luck for the future.”