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League of Ireland newcomers to look out for during the 2020 season

We profile some of the recent arrivals ahead of the start of the new campaign this Friday.

THE NEW DOMESTIC football season begins this weekend with the start of the 2020 campaign for Premier Division clubs.

Ahead of the big kick-off, we’ve selected one player from each of the top-flight sides* who’ll be looking to make a big impact in their first season in the League of Ireland.

* (The list doesn’t contain a representative from Shelbourne, whose new signings have all previously played in the League of Ireland)

Callum Thompson (Bohemians)

wolverhampton-wanderers-u23-v-paris-saint-germain-u23-premier-league-international-cup-molineux Source: EMPICS Sport

Thompson, who has been with Wolverhampton Wanderers since 2017, has joined Bohemians on loan from the Premier League club until July.

A product of St Joseph’s Boys, the 18-year-old winger has made 10 appearances for the Wolves U23 side this season. He has also been capped by the Republic of Ireland up to U18 level.

“He’s new to the league and to senior football but is a very talented young player and an exciting prospect,” Bohs manager Keith Long said. “It’s going to be a squad game and we’ll need players of quality ready to come in and play. We’re looking forward to working with Callum.”

Liam Bossin (Cork City)

liam-bossin Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The Belgian-born goalkeeper, who’s a former Republic of Ireland U21 international, joins Cork City as a free agent following his release by Nottingham Forest last summer.

Bossin began his career in the academy at Anderlecht. After being let go by the Belgian side, he joined Forest in 2017 but was unable to break into the first-team picture.

“He is a fantastic keeper, an Irish U21 international, and it is brilliant for us to get a player of his calibre,” said Cork City manager Neale Fenn. “I’ve spoken to people about him and made sure he will be a good fit for us, so I am very pleased to have him signed.”

Stephen Mallon (Derry City)

stephen-mallon Source: TGSPHOTO/Paul Dennis/INPHO

Providing options on the left side of defence and midfield, Mallon will stay with Derry City until the end of June having joined on loan from Sheffield United.

The 20-year-old Belfast native, who had a loan stint with A-League side Central Coast Mariners last year, picked up two Republic of Ireland U21 caps at the Toulon Tournament in June 2019.

Derry City manager Declan Devine said: “He’s a talented boy with a fantastic left foot and gives us versatility.”

Will Patching (Dundalk)

manchester-city-youth-v-borussia-monchengladbach-youth-uefa-youth-league-group-d-city-academy-stadium Source: Nigel French

The champions bolstered their attacking midfield options by signing the talented 21-year-old, who was most recently at Notts County.

Patching spent 14 years on the books at Manchester City, where a first-team breakthrough proved elusive. He also played for England at the U17 World Cup in 2015. 

Dundalk boss Vinny Perth said: “We believe we are signing a player with huge potential. We believe he can become a real star. The challenge is ultimately up to Will to become a top player.”

Kosovar Sadiki (Finn Harps)

5e28b5bd2b9e4221cc111643_Kosovar 2 Source: Finn Harps FC

The German-born central defender is on loan at Finn Harps from Scottish Premiership club Hibernian for the 2020 League of Ireland season. He was previously on the books at Stoke City and Croatian side NK Lokomotiva.

Sadiki, who has represented Canada – where he was raised – up to U23 level, impressed Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan during during pre-season trial games against Galway United and Derry City.

“It’s great for us to have Kosovar come in and give us plenty of options at the back,” Horgan said of the 21-year-old. “If you don’t concede the worst you’ll get is a draw and so any quality will go a long way. For himself and Hibs he gets to test himself now in a new environment and further his development.”

Billy King (St Patrick’s Athletic)

rangers-v-falkirk-ladbrokes-scottish-championship-ibrox-stadium Source: PA Archive/PA Images

A midfielder comfortable who can also play on either wing, King made over 150 appearances in Scottish football for Hearts, Rangers, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Dundee United.

The former Scotland U21 international, who was most recently with Greenock Morton, scored a hat-trick for Stephen O’Donnell’s side in a pre-season friendly against Munster Senior League outfit Fermoy.

King said: “I spoke to a lot of people about it [the League of Ireland] and from talking to the gaffer and what he wants from me, and what he expects of everyone, this is something that I wanted to be a part of.” 

Rhys Marshall (Shamrock Rovers)

rhys-marshall-scores Source: Freddie Parkinson/INPHO

The 24-year-old right-back, who also operates in midfield, left Glenavon in an “acceptable financial deal” according to the NIFL Premiership club.

Marshall came through the youth ranks at Mourneview Park and made 225 first-team appearances. He also helped the club to win the Irish Cup in 2014 and ’16.

“I’m delighted to get him in,” Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley said. “He can play in a number of positions – right-back, centre-back, centre-midfield and I’ve seen him play left-back as well. He strengthens us as a team and a squad so it was a no brainer.”

Teemu Penninkangas (Sligo Rovers)

ADDE0CA5-A5E3-447B-9EB3-BA1DFA0C5AF3-1024x841 Source: Sligo Rovers FC

A versatile defender, Penninkangas moves to Sligo Rovers from his native Finland, where he helped SJK Seinäjoki to win the Veikkausliiga – the Finnish top-flight – for the first time in the club’s history in 2015.

The following season, the 27-year-old, who most recently played for FC Lahti, represented SJK in their Champions League qualifier defeat to BATE Borisov.

“It’s a signing that is really going to fit in with how we play,” said Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley. “Teemu can play as a left-back or wing-back as well as in the middle of defence. He’s tall, physical, he reads it well and he can also come up from the back and score goals, which he has done consistently throughout his career.”

Tyreke Wilson (Waterford)

manchester-city-v-feyenoord-uefa-youth-league-group-f-city-football-academy Source: EMPICS Sport

Wilson arrives at Waterford from Manchester City, with whom the left-back signed a four-year professional contract in 2016. He featured regularly for City at U23 level but wasn’t afforded a first-team opportunity by the Premier League champions.

The 20-year-old Dubliner, a product of Cherry Orchard, made his Republic of Ireland U21 debut at last summer’s Toulon Tournament.

“I’d base myself off Ashley Cole, so I’d like to play like him,” Wilson said. “I want to get playing football regularly at first-team level. I’m hoping for a good run of games here and to see where I can go.” 

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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