Longford squad taking shape
Longford Town FC last night announced the names of the first seven players that will make up the clubs squad for next years First Division campaign. Of the seven names released five are re-signings, while Aidan Friel and Gavin Boyne are new arrivals from Wexford Youths and Shelbourne FC respectively.
Signing back on the dotted line for another season are Rhys Gorman, Paul Skinner, Kevin O'Connor, Don Cowan and the clubs all-time leading goalscorer David O'Sullivan. It is safe to say that these five players are the names the vast majority of supporters would have wanted to stay after a disastrous 2016 season and bar goalkeeepr Skinner, all of these players were part of Town's 2014 First Division winning side which should help bring strong experience to the dressing room next season.
However, it is the recapture of O'Sullivan that is set to delighted fans the most as the clubs leading marksman for the past four consecutive seasons looks to reach an incredible 100 goals for the Midlanders. Currently stuck on 69 goals in all competitions, it will take a monumental effort from the Wicklow man to reach treble digits in 2017 but having scored over twenty goals in both of his previous First Division campaigns, O'Sullivan will be confident of at least matching those feats in 2017.
Of the two new arrivals at the club, Aidan Friel is known as an attacking left back with previous League of Ireland experience with Finn Harps, Athlone Town and Wexford while Boyne was a member of the infamous Shamrock Rovers 'B' squad in 2014. Having played in over twenty First Division games for Shelbourne last season, Boyne is well adjusted at this level and should not take too long to find his feet at his new club.
With Phillip Gannon and Peter McGlynn departing the club earlier this week, Boyne will be looking to cement himself a regular starting berth in central midfield alongside the creative Kevin O'Connor.
With more signings expected in the coming days and four pre-season friendlies against Bray Wanderers, Finn Harps, Bohemains and St.Patrick's Athletic lined up, things are starting to take shape at the City Calling Stadium ahead of Alan Mathews first full-season in charge since 2007.
There is no doubt Longford will begin next season as one of the red hot favourites to capture the First Division title but with a new owner in charge at Waterford and speculation of some big money signings, as well as strong transfer business at Shelbourne, next season may not be the walk in the park some pundits are predicting for Longford.