LIAM BUCKLEY is expecting big things from James Chambers at Richmond Park next season after the midfielder sealed his return to St Patrick's Athletic.
But the Saints boss admits there is a void to fill in midfield as key man John Russell is leaving the club to take up a full-time role, based in Sligo, with the FAI, a move that should see Russell re-join Sligo Rovers.
The Saints boss has been working on his squad for 2014 in the off-season and Chambers becomes the third player to move from Shamrock Rovers to Pat's, joining Ken Oman and Conor McCormack in making that switch.
Chambers had an unhappy time at Rovers last season, and Buckley hopes that a second spell at Richmond Park can rejuvenate the midfielder.
"There is more to come from James, I know that, and I feel that the St Pat's fans will enjoy having him at the club next season, I know they will welcome him back," Buckley told the Herald.
"I have worked with James before so I know what a good player he is and I feel he's a great acquisition for us. He is a good character as well as a good player and he will slot right in. He was in and out of the team at Rovers last season but I know he can do a lot better and I am confident he will do well for us," added Buckley, who does regret the exit of Russell.
The Galway native was a popular player at Pat's but he has just taken up a new job as full-time Regional Development Officer for the Sligo region with the FAI and that forces him to relocate to Sligo.
"I wanted John to stay as he was a great player for us in winning the league last season, we had offered him a new contract but this opportunity with the FAI has come up and it was something he could not turn down," said the Saints manager.
"John was an excellent professional, he was a great influence in the dressing room and he did a lot of great work for the club in the community. I am sorry to see him leave but I understand his reasons and we wish him all the best."
Meanwhile, Pat's are hopeful that midfielder Christopher Forrester will still be at Richmond Park next season. The Ireland U21 cap had a two-week trial with League One side Bristol City last month and Forrester impressed the coaching staff in his time there, but just after his trial ended, as the club were pondering a bid for Forrester, City sacked their manager Seán O'Driscoll and it's unclear if new boss Steve Cotterill wants to revive a possible deal for Forrester. St Pat's now have 17 senior pros signed up for next season but Buckley (left) is still keen to add fresh faces, especially up front as key striker from their title-winning season Anto Flood is about to leave for Australia.
Meanwhile, Dundalk have been linked with a move for former Shamrock Rovers and Longford Town striker Don Cowan.