New Hoops boss Croly begins hunt to replace legend Twigg

New Shamrock Rovers manager Trevor Croly has said finding someone to fill the shooting boots of departed club legend Gary Twigg will be high up on his agenda.

“It will be a challenge,” he conceded, “because Gary got so many goals and he was such a fantastic player over a number of years. But we’ve got good players. You look at Ciaran [Kilduff] — unfortunately last year he got injured early so that was a hindrance to him. But he got quite a few goals and he will get goals. We’ve got Thomas Stewart too. And there are good players out there and we’ll try to bring them in.”

With Twigg gone to Portadown, Rovers have eight players still under contract and chairman Jonathan Roche says he expects the club to be busy in the transfer market as Croly sets about rebuilding the squad.

And, already, the Hoops have been linked with a number of players from Sligo Rovers’ title-winning team, among them Gary Rogers, Jason McGuinness and Mark Quigley.

“They could potentially [come to Rovers] if they are out of contract, but I wouldn’t like to comment,” parried Croly. “I admire Gary, I admire Jason, I admire Mark and I also admire a lot of other players at Sligo. We all do because they have been so good this year. There are not many players in Sligo that any of us wouldn’t be interested in.’’

Croly, 38, returns to Tallaght from St Patrick’s Athletic on a two-year contract having previously been assistant to Michael O’Neill during Rovers’ back-to-back title wins.

Vastly experienced in the League of Ireland as a player, coach and assistant, he says he is now ready to take on the top job.

“I had a career path but whilst I was in the jobs I was in, I was completely happy and I enjoyed it,” he said. “The most enjoyable part of football to me is the football — being out training and the games. As a coach and as an assistant it’s been fun and it’s been brilliant. But I’ve always probably had the characteristics to be a manager. And when you get the opportunity to be at Shamrock Rovers you have to take it.”

Hailing the return of Croly, Roche said he had emerged as the leading contender for the job from “five or six really good candidates” interviewed by the club. And the chairman said he had no qualms about the fact this will be Croly’s first managerial post.

“Trevor knows this club inside-out,” he said. “He’s been assistant manager while we’ve won trophies and has learned, I believe, from all the managers he’s been with. I’d have full confidence that Trevor will be able to step up to where he is now. He’s worked for this day for a long time in football, and now he’s gotten there.”

“I’m ready for this,” Croly added. “I started coaching nine years ago, with Kildare County, progressed to Bohs, Longford, St Pat’s, to Shamrock Rovers back to Pat’s and I’ve come here now. If I’m not equipped, I don’t know how you become equipped.”

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