Cork City boss John Caulfield has put the finishing touches to his squad to challenge for the League of Ireland title with confirmation of two new signings ahead of today’s transfer deadline.
Lithuanian defender Rimvydas Sadauskas comes in from Stumbras Kaunas, while Italian striker Christian Nanetti arrives from English non-league football, and join a squad which is already celebrating silverware, having beaten league champions Dundalk 3-0 in last weekend’s President’s Cup, the curtain-raiser to the new season.
The serious stuff starts now for City, with a trip to Ballybofey to face Finn Harps in their Premier Division opener on Friday (8pm), and there may be a few new faces on the bus.
“Rimvydas will come in on a loan period up to the break,” said Caulfield yesteray. “He’s 6ft 4in, 20 years of age, he’s got a lot of potential but he’s a bit to do — our league is different to the league he’s come from, and certainly the intensity is different.”
Bologna-born Nanetti, 25, has had loan periods in England and Scotland’s lower leagues over the past few years since arriving at QPR as a youngster. “Christian has been in England for quite a few years, since he was 16, when he was underage he was really promising, he has suffered some injuries but he’s come to us on a short-term contract. He needs to up his fitness so we’re working on that with him.”
City have already brought in Conor McCormack, Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin, Jimmy Keohane, and Achille Campion in the close season, and all but Campion featured in the weekend win over Dundalk. “We’ve signed a particular type of player that want to play with the club, that are passionate, high energy, and play with pace and intensity,” says Caulfield. “They’ve all got tremendous quality and tremendous ability and ultimately they all want to win trophies, and that’s what most important.
“I would expect over the next few weeks there are guys who might come back and come into the fray: Johnny Dunleavy, Alan Bennett, John Kavanagh are all due back in the next week to 10 days, and I’d hope they’ll be back to bolster the squad,” added the City boss.
There’s another transfer Caulfield watched with interest yesterday, with former Northern Ireland international and Celtic star Paddy McCourt confirmed as a Finn Harps player and set to feature against the Leesiders at Finn Park on Friday night.
“Paddy McCourt will give them a lot more creativity, they’ve certainly brought a lot more attacking players in in the off season while they’ve kept their defensive players they’ve had,” said Caulfield. “I think Harps will shock a lot people this year. I think the year they had last year will stand to them and they’re going to cause a lot of problems.
“We scraped a late winner there last year, (Finn Harps boss) Ollie Horgan has all his team very well organised, physically strong, very passionate. It’s a difficult venue and a difficult pitch, with a passionate crowd. Finn Harps are expecting a more or less a full house so we’re under no illusions what we need to do.
“We would expect Harps to play nine or 10 behind the ball but they are at home, so they still have to show a bit too. We’ll have to be very careful on the counter because now they have players who can hurt us.”
Caulfield expects Steven Beattie to be fit despite coming off with a knock in the win over Dundalk. “He’s a pure warrior but it’s a situation where we need to manage him because he can’t play everyday, so he’s taken a couple of days off. He’s 50/50 but I’d expect him to play, knowing him.”
Meanwhile newly-promoted Limerick have followed up the signing of Sunderland defender Tommy Robson with the signing of 22-year-old defender Thibaut Molinatti from Swedish club Enskede IK yesterday.
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