Belfast Telegraph

Dungannon Swifts will keep key players like Smyth and Hegarty, insists manager


Determined: Kris Lindsay
Determined: Kris Lindsay
Chris Hegarty

By Steven Beacom

Dungannon Swifts manager Kris Lindsay insists he is intent on keeping his top players in the summer to move the club forward.

Lindsay is well aware that some of his star men are targets for other sides in Northern Ireland and even further afield.

Gifted youngster Oisin Smyth has a host of admirers as does Chris Hegarty, regarded as one of the best defenders in Irish League football. Seanan Clucas is another who has impressed this season.

Lindsay has been praised for the job he has done at Dungannon this term, steering them away from relegation worries after taking over in late September, but he is keen to push on and that means improving the squad rather than going the other way.

Asked about potential transfer interest in his team, Lindsay said: "We have quality players here such as Oisin Smyth who is a smashing kid and has done really well since coming into the team.

"I want to build a team around our good players, like Oisin, Seanan Clucuas, Chris Hegarty and Daniel Hughes.

"Other clubs can enquire but our players are all under contract.

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"When I came here a lot of people perceived that Dungannon would be happy to just stay in the league.

"If that was the case I wouldn't have came. I want to progress this club and we'll not do that by letting our best players go."

Lindsay was frustrated at the weekend to lose 2-1 at home to Glentoran.

The result took the seventh-placed east Belfast outfit five points clear of Dungannon making a severe dent in the Stangmore Park side's ambitions of qualifying for the European play-offs.

The Dungannon boss wants to end the campaign on a high by winning their last four games to try and put pressure on the Glens, but he is also thinking long term.

"Since I came in we have made progress but we still have a long way to go," he said.

"We have had a few disappointments along the way, such as Saturday and going out of the Irish Cup in the quarter-finals, but you have to learn from that and get stronger for the future."

Against the Glens, Dungannon were on the wrong side of some refereeing decisions having Douglas Wilson sent off and being awarded a free-kick for a foul on Johnny Lafferty when home fans felt it should have been a penalty.

Lindsay, whose side host Institute on Saturday, said: "I thought we played well in stages against Glentoran.

"The first half was even enough and the second half was going the same way until we had a man sent off. I can't knock our players for their desire and commitment but it was a poor goal for us to concede which decided the match.

"Those are the fine margins."

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