Shelbourne shaping up for new season

by Gazette Reporter
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KEVIN Doherty spoke to GazetteSport around two months ago, less than 48 hours after he had been announced as manager of Shelbourne Football Club.

In that interview, the new manager spoke with a refreshing attitude about his side’s promotion hopes although admitted feelings were “still sinking in” having landed a job he coveted for so long.

Now, two months and a handful of preseason friendlies later, Doherty says his attitude has barely changed. The feelings may have sunk in, though, and he is now comfortable in his role as manager of one of the storied clubs in the League of Ireland.

“It’s certainly sunk in now but I’m still just as busy! I think when we spoke last I had barely any players signed and I’ve 23 now so it’s been quite busy getting that squad together.

“I got mainly who I wanted to get so we’re happy enough. We’ve been back training four weeks and played a couple of friendlies with a couple more this weekend. Finn Harps of course on March 6 in the league is what we are fully focused on though.”

Doherty has put his players through a tough preseason that doesn’t let up before the big league kick-off.

So far they have faced Premier Division trio Sligo Rovers, Longford Town and Bray Wanderers, with two defeats along with a 2-2 draw against Town.

Shels take on Dublin rivals St Pat’s on Friday night in Tolka before a Leinster Senior Cup game against Newtown on Sunday is followed by another Dublin derby against Shamrock Rovers next Friday night.

On how he has organised his preseason fixtures, the 34-year-old said.
“I think I could have gone and handpicked games against local sides and won by a few goals but you don’t learn much from that.

“I know from being a player, so I wanted to go and test ourselves against good sides and in fairness the Bray game was the only performance I was disappointed with and that was only a 2-1 defeat and they scored a penalty. I think they’ll be comfortable enough in the Premier this year so there are positives to take.”

With Doherty a former player at Tolka Park, and a popular figure during his playing days, the former Liverpool youth star was asked on how the reaction has been since he’s taken the reins at the Drumcondra stadium.

“The reception’s been great since I’ve come in to be honest. Obviously there hasn’t been a huge crowd at the friendlies but there’s a fan forum in a couple of weeks which I’ll go to and take some questions and speak to some fans. But generally the feelings have been very positive.”

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