Waterford United returned to training on Saturday last at the RSC. That statement is more or less true because manager Stephen Henderson is still trying to sign players ahead of the new season which will get underway in March.

The new boss was in bullish form on Saturday as he began to get down to business with his new players. “It has been a busy time since I took over on December 23rd. At the moment we have ten players signed and I hope to have at least another five on the books by Friday next.

“We will work from a panel of 18. It may be a small one but considering the budget we are working from that will be fine with me. We have signed Graham Cummins and John Kearney from Cobh Ramblers and at the moment I am waiting to see what will happen with Kevin Murray.

“Michael Devine and myself have been talking during the past few weeks also and all we can do is wait and see on that situation as well. Timmy Purcell is here today from UCD and another player I am looking at is the former Sligo Rovers striker Carlos Alvarez.

“He can be a very exciting player. Willie John Kiely, Gary Dunphy, David Grincell and a few other local lads have signed up. We have lost David Breen but I can understand where he is coming from because playing League of Ireland football is a huge commitment.

“We will train three times a week and then we play once a week and it takes some doing. It is clear that the money that was around until recently has dried up, but nevertheless players can make a name for themselves in this league.

“The players who come to Waterford will not be codded in any way. I will be doing all I can to get young and talented players from the South East to come here and play football the way it should be played, and as a result hopefully the crowds will increase for our home games.”

Games lined up

Pre-season games are very important especially for Waterford United this season. With a large number of new players and a new manager in place it will take some time for everyone to blend in together.

Stephen Henderson is well aware of that fact. “We have lined up games against Cork City, Bohemians and St Patricks Athletic, although with Johnny McDonnell now gone from that club I will have to wait and see what happens.

“We will also be playing a couple of games against some local junior clubs. I will be taking in a number of games on the local front this weekend to watch some of the good talent that is in the area.

“Since I came here Ray Moran has been brilliant with me and I have also brought Martin Cambridge in to work on the fitness of the players. We will be competitive this season and looking a little further ahead I would think a deadline of three years would be just about right to get this club back where it really belongs, right up there with the big names once again.

“We have a big challenge ahead but we will be more than capable of meeting that challenge. There will be new faces and new ideas in place and perhaps that is what this club needed.

“Things had got a little jaded and tired but now everyone is ready to get stuck in and shake things up,” concluded Henderson as he went to meet his new troops for the first time on what was a cold and windy day.

No doubt there will be sunshine and more stormy days ahead in what promise to be a very interesting season for Waterford United.