Neale Fenn has said he hopes to add some experience to his youthful squad, as preparations at Cork City intensify ahead of the resumption on July 31st of a truncated League of Ireland season.
“We kind of have a different focus from having a 36-game league to having an 18-game league,” the manager said.
“We went young this year, we had a young squad we felt would improve the more games we played. We had an extremely difficult start but we felt with more games we would get better. Now with 13 games left and in ninth place, has our focus got to change a little bit on trying to stay in the division and is our squad prepared for that? So we have to look at that.”
Asked on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast if he’d be looking to make signings, Fenn replied: “Yeah, we have to. We have to reassess our squad. We can’t go into the rest of the games with the attitude we had last time which was we will get better as the season goes on. We can’t afford to only win one game in five of these next 13 games so it’s important we hit the ground running.
“Trying to bring a little bit more experience into the squad – I think we’ll be looking at that if we can but that’s easier said than done. But we’ll be looking to try and get a little bit more experience just so that we are prepared for the first few rounds of games and don’t slip behind.”
Cork City were one of the majority of the Premier Division clubs opposed to the retention of the existing promotion-relegation format which has now been ratified by the FAI. It means that, despite the shortened season, at least one and potentially two top flight clubs will still be relegated at the end of the campaign.
“It was a long drawn-out process and to go round in circles and end up where we were at the start is frustrating,” said Fenn.
“It’s a culmination of years of neglect finally coming back to bite the league. I don’t blame the people in charge really now because they’ve been kind of thrown in at the deep end.
“No-one saw this pandemic happening, obviously, in the first place, but with what’s gone on in the FAI before and then trying to find solutions and putting it to the clubs to try and sort it out among themselves - which was never really going to happen; each one is going to look after the best interests of their own club – and then they go against the majority in the end.
“But we are where we are now and the most important thing is that we know the games we’ve got, football’s back, and that’s what we’re focused on now.”