Cox back in Fermanagh fold as Gallagher eyes early progress
The return of experienced Belcoo clubman Brian Cox to the Fermanagh squad has provided new manager Rory Gallagher with a timely boost in the countdown to the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup.
Cox, who helped his club win this year's Fermanagh intermediate football championship, will lend a further layer of experience to the Erne county as they seek to hit the ground running in 2018.
27-year-old Cox spent a year in Australia before returning to club duty with Belcoo and, having enjoyed an extended season - their campaign was ended when they were beaten by Paddy Bradley's Newbridge side in the Ulster club championship quarter-final - he is now turning his attention to the inter-county arena.
And Cox, a doctor, has already discovered that he will have to fight hard if he is to nail down a place in Gallagher's line-up.
The former Donegal boss is currently putting a 40-plus squad through their paces, although he has eschewed the Lissan training complex in favour of utilising club grounds that are made available to him.
Cox, whose versatility could prove a major bonus for Fermanagh, was given his county debut seven years ago by then boss Malachy O'Rourke and is expected to see early-season action in 2018.
Manager Gallagher has already indicated that Fermanagh will take a more committed approach to the McKenna Cup because he has virtually a full squad of players at his disposal.
Only two players, James McMahon and Ciaran Corrigan, are tied up with their respective university sides for the month of January but are then expected to link up with Fermanagh again.
Fermanagh open their McKenna Cup Section C campaign against Monaghan at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Wednesday, January 3 then face Queen's University at the same venue on Sunday, January 7 and complete their group stage games against Donegal at Ballybofey on January 10.