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Talbot fitness a huge boost for Long as Bohs prepare for a return

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READY FOR ACTION: James Talbot of Bohemians. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

READY FOR ACTION: James Talbot of Bohemians. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

READY FOR ACTION: James Talbot of Bohemians. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The return to fitness of key men like James Talbot could be like new signings for Bohemians boss Keith Long when the season resumes later this month.

He plans to work off the same squad of players he had in March when the season went into lockdown.

Some Premier Division clubs are in the market for new signings, Shelbourne first out of the traps with the capture of midfielder Brian McManus, back home in Ireland after a spell in England.

McManus’ Preston team-mate, Jimmy Corcoran, is training with Dundalk.

Waterford are expected to sign former Ireland international Daryl Murphy, while Cork City are also keen to add to their squad for a likely relegation battle.

Bohs will make one formal addition, Dubliner Callum Thompson agreeing terms having been on loan to Bohs from Wolves at the start of the season as his contract at Molineux is now finished.

Dublin-born defender Aaron O’Driscoll, released by Southampton after a four-year spell, had been training with Bohs, the club where his father Maurice had a seven-year spell as a player.

But that was essentially to work on his fitness, as the 21-year-old wants to stay in the UK and could end up at St Mirren.

“We have James Talbot and Dinny Corcoran back fit and that will be a huge boost for us,” says Long.

“I don’t see us signing players in this window. Our squad is in good shape and James Talbot being back is huge for us and Dinny’s goals are always important.

“James needed time off for the injury to heal, it was more severe than we thought

Talbot, called up to the Ireland senior squad last year, suffered an ankle injury in the opening game of the season in February, a defeat to Shamrock Rovers, and missed the next four games before lockdown.

But time off has benefitted the ex-Sunderland man, while Corcoran missed most of last season with a foot injury.

“We have signed Callum Thompson from Wolves and we have high hopes for him, we should see the best of him in the months ahead,” said Long.

“Aaron O’Driscoll was in with us but he’s not looking to come home to Ireland, he just needed somewhere to train for a few days and we were happy to facilitate him.”

Winger Kris Twardek, who went back to his native Canada during lockdown, completed his spell of self-isolation on his return to Ireland and was able to rejoin his team-mates for training, with Europa League football next month a target for Twardek and the squad.

“It’s eight years since we were in Europe so it’s great to be back,” says Long.

“The players’ approach during lockdown was fantastic, the way they kept up their fitness and worked hard.

“We have league games to look forward to before Europe but all of the players are hungry just to play football again.

“We’ll have friendly games next week and that will whet the appetite for the league and European games to come.”