Dundalk head coach Stephen O’Donnell says the club is “hopeful” it can to hold on to its three loan stars – Mark Connolly, Lewis Macari and Steven Bradley – for the second half of the season.
hile there is an option for Hibernian to recall Bradley, he is the most likely of the trio to remain at Oriel Park having joined on a season-long loan deal back in February.
Both Connolly and Macari signed for just six months, however, their time at the club is up as things stand after the trip to face Shelbourne at Tolka Park on June 24.
When it was put to him that the pair could be playing their last game at Oriel Park against Shamrock Rovers this Friday, O’Donnell replied: “It could.”
He added: “We’re talking and it’s ongoing. Again, that will be nearer the time in regards to there being different parties involved between the player, both clubs etc.
“It’s not just black and white but we’re hopeful on them. I think they’ve settled in really well and added a lot to us. I feel like they’re enjoying their football themselves here.”
The club announced last week that their fourth loanee, Dan Williams, had returned to parent club Swansea City having not played since suffering an ankle injury in the victory over Sligo Rovers in mid-April.
That opens up the option of another loan signing, as only four are permitted at any one time, and O’Donnell said he hasn’t ruled out that option but said it might not necessarily be for another midfielder.
“Maybe, yeah,” he said when asked if he’d look to the loan market again.
“It’s just unfortunate the way it happened with Dan. It was such an innocuous injury. He had been playing very well. We wish him all the best now in pre-season with Swansea.
“That’s his ultimate goal to see can he go and get game time with Swansea. He has got a little bit of a taste now of men’s football. It was unfortunate the way it ended but we wish him the best and we’ll see position-wise.
“Anything can happen with injuries and what-not over the next three weeks and the goal posts could switch then to a different position.”
The 36-year-old admitted his side had looked at transfer options over the break ahead of the window opening next month but re-iterated after his side’s friendly win over Bohemians on Friday night that Dundalk wouldn’t be signing anyone just for the sake of it.
“We’ve been doing little bits and bobs internally but there’s still plenty of time to go on that,” he said.
“There’ll be no one coming in that we don’t think can improve us. As you saw there, we have good quality players and some of the younger ones – Mark (Hanratty) done well, Ryan (O’Kane) done well and Mayowa (Animasahun) done well – so we’re happy with what we have and we’ll only add to it if they really feel they can improve us,” he said.