The transfer window opened on January 1 but Richie Towell is still a Dundalk player - much to the surprise of Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny.
Towell has been heavily linked with a number of cross channel clubs in recent months. Millwall, Wigan, Bolton Wanderers and Scottish side Motherwell - managed by former Sligo Rovers boss Ian Baraclough - have all expressed an interest in taking the 23-year-old on trial but Blackpool are the only club to have made a firm offer - believed to be in the region of €20k - for the midfielder who put pen to paper on a new deal at Oriel Park in November.
And Kenny, who is currently on a family holiday in Lanzarote, told the Dundalk Democrat on Monday that the chances of Towell being present for the start of pre-season training on January 14 were growing by the day.
“To be honest, I thought it was a certainty that he would be gone to Blackpool by now,” said Kenny.
“It would be all the better for us if he stays. There seems to be a lot of trouble at Blackpool so I think Richie is a bit unsure. I’ll see him and speak with him when I return from holidays this week.”
Another player who could also feature in pre-season training is Aston Villa striker Mikey Drennan. Villa are believed to be willing to release the Kilkenny native from his contract and Dundalk hope to know within the next 72 hours if he is willing to make the switch to the League of Ireland champions.
Looking ahead to pre-season, Kenny stated that a number of players would have to be eased back into things after picking up knocks in the close season.
“Daryl Horgan and Darren Meenan both had injections in their groin over the break and David McMillan has obviously had surgery on his ankle so they will have to be eased back in. Sean Gannon and Kurtis Byrne have also had some issues so we will take it slow with them.”
Dundalk’s pre-season schedule will consist of games against Warrenpoint Town, a Northern Ireland junior select XI, UCD, the Malone Cup against Drogheda United, the President’s Cup against St Pat’s and the Leinster Senior Cup 4th round tie, the draw for which will be made this week. The proposed friendly with Everton has still to be confirmed.
Kenny also revealed that Dundalk have submitted their proposals for this year’s Setanta Cup which is expected to be played in May and June in a bid to revitalise the interest of the Irish League clubs involved in the cross-border competition.
The Dundalk manager will also be present at the SWAI’s annual banquet in Dublin on Friday night. Kenny, along with Towell and the departed Patrick Hoban, is nominated for the Personality of the Year award while former Lilywhites goalkeeper Peter Cherrie has been nominated for the Goalkeeper of the Year gong.