2023 Season Preview: Drogheda United

Manager: Kevin Doherty

Stadium: United Park

Players in: Sean Brennan (UCD), Aaron McNally (Brazos Valley Cavalry), Michael Leddy (Shamrock Rovers - loan), Ben Curtis (St Patrick's Athletic), Fiachra Pagel (Forest Green Rovers - loan), Conor Keeley (Ballymena United), Emmanuel Adegboyega (Dundalk), Jarlath Jones (Athlone Town), Elicha Ahui & Freddie Draper (Lincoln City - loan).

Players out: Andrew Quinn (Shelbourne), Chris Lyons (Bray Wanderers), Dean Williams (Bohemians), Dane Massey (Bray Wanderers), Keith Cowan, Kaleem Simon (Fleetwood United), Aaron Davis, Sam O'Brien, Georgie Poynton, Lee Steacy (Cobh Ramblers), Mohamed Boudiaf (Newry City), Stevan Stanic-Floody, Darragh Nugent (Shamrock Rovers - end of loan).

Extratime.ie Key Man: Darragh Markey

Returning to Drogheda United for another season after turning down a move to Bohemians during the off-season, Darragh Markey is likely to be Drogs key man this year.

The former St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder was often Kevin Doherty’s ace last season and will be expected to do the same this year.

The Boynesiders are expected to be embroiled in a relegation dogfight at the foot of the table – but Markey could steer them out of it.

Extratime.ie One to Watch: Freddie Draper

Joining from Lincoln City on loan until the end of June, striker Freddie Draper could be key to Drogheda’s fortunes this season.

The target man, 18, was previously on the books of Derby County but has opted to join Doherty’s Drogs on loan for the first half of the Premier Division campaign.

And following the successes of Sam Long and Sean Roughan last season, there is no reason why he can’t replicate their exploits.

Of course, there is a void to fill at United Park this season after the departure of Dean Williams – but Draper could be a very capable replacement.

What to expect this season:

Heading into the 2023 Premier Division campaign, Drogheda United have many tipping them for the drop.

And yes, that talk might be merited given the fact they are one of just two part-time sides in the top-flight.

But Drogheda comfortably stayed up last season and impressed under Doherty.

And that should give them confidence that they can do the same. They have also added the likes of Conor Keeley and Emmanuel Adegboyega to their ranks to provide some defensive cover.

However, the loss of key men such as Williams and Andrew Quinn to top-flight rivals is a significant blow.

As a result, a season in which they avoid the drop would be a superb achievement for the Boynesiders – whether that is via the playoffs or their league position.

First Game: Away to Shelbourne, February 17th, Tolka Park (kick-off is at 7.45pm).