Tony Cousins hoping for a top half finish in the tough First Division

Looking ahead to the new League of Ireland season, Longford Town manager Tony Cousins is making no false promises that his team will push for promotion but said he wants them to be ‘competitive’.

Looking ahead to the new League of Ireland season, Longford Town manager Tony Cousins is making no false promises that his team will push for promotion but said he wants them to be ‘competitive’.

The Dubliner is honest with his assessment of the Town’s chances. “We are looking to be competitive and we would like to finish in the top half; to do that we have to be at our best. We need to be consistent,” he told the Leader.

Compared to last season when he had to rebuild a squad, Cousins has the advantage of having a year at the club behind him. He has brought in several new faces; players he feels will make a difference.

But new striker Austin Skelly will miss the start of the season due to an Achilles injury; a blow for both the player and the club. He said, “I’m happy enough with our squad. The only problem is Austin Skelly who is going to be out for a while. It’s a blow because I brought him in to get us goals. I also signed two new central defenders. That was an area we needed to improve. I kept the guys who I thought would progress well. I’m hoping that an improvement in the group of players will be shown this year.”

With other clubs making significant signings in the transfer window Cousins is well aware of how tough the First Division will be. He believes a good start is what is required from his side if they are to do well. “Hopefully we will get a good run going. Overall we are very well prepared. I am happy in the way the lads are moving and I’m looking forward to getting started,” said the Town boss.

Longford get their league campaign underway this Saturday night when they entertain one of the title favourites Shelbourne at Flancare Park. It’s a game Cousins is looking forward to. He said, “It’s a great game to start off with. It will give us a good test of where we are at against one of the sides that are favourites to get promoted.”