WITH just four days until the beginning of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division season, Cork City manager Neale Fenn is set to make two more additions to his squad.
City begin their campaign on Friday night as Shelbourne visit Turner’s Cross, with the Rebel Army keen to put last year’s disappointing eighth-placed finish behind them, and defender Joseph Olowu and midfielder Deshane Dalling are set to sign on loan from Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers respectively in the coming days.
Nigerian-born central defender Olowu, aged 20, is a ball-playing centre-back and is expected to sign until the summer.
Already, Fenn has Alan Bennett, Robert Slevin, Joe Redmond – who is on loan from Birmingham City – and teenager Josh Honohan vying for central defensive spots.
Dalling is 21 and has played for the QPR senior team.
His arrival will give Fenn more options in the middle, where captain Gearóid Morrissey, Cian Coleman, Alec Byrne and new signings Henry Ochieng are all in contention.
The City squad also features a number of graduates from the club’s academy, but Fenn is reluctant to ask too much of the younger players too soon.
“It is a big year, but we have to remember where they’re coming from,” he says.
“They’re coming from part-time U19s football, are they ready to play every week as a group in the first team? I don’t think so, not all of them together.
“I think that they need to do well in training first, just because they’re here doesn’t mean they’re going to be playing week-in, week-out.
"But it’s important that we help them along with that progression.
“It’s a big leap from playing U19 to playing senior, a big leap from training twice a week to training every day, the gym programmes that we’ve given them has taken a toll on their bodies.
"It would be unfair of me to say, ‘Right, there you go, there’s seven U19 players that we think are good enough to play in the first team, go and get us into Europe.
“I don’t think any fans would have that expectation on them, we’ll use them when they’re ready, certainly some of them will play a part but others might take a little bit longer.”