Chris Forrester needed some TLC and an arm around the shoulder when he came back to St Pat's after a nightmare spell at Aberdeen.

The brilliantly talented playmaker moved to Peterborough back in 2015 having lit up the League of Ireland with a series of spectacular goals and match-winning displays.

He shone at Posh initially, but fell out of favour in the 2017/18 campaign and opted to move north to the Dons last summer. But he never fully settled in Scotland, and the tragic passing of his sister, followed by another death in the family just a couple of months later, intensified the 26-year-old's home sickness.

He returned to the Saints last month, and new boss Harry Kenny says he can rediscover the magic that made him such a huge favourite in Inchicore.

"Chris will bring plenty of flair and imagination to the team," Kenny told RTÉ Sport.

"He obviously had a bad time at Aberdeen and was mad to get out of there. His confidence was low when he came back, but he's been getting there over the last number of weeks. He's a special player.

"He's more versatile. In his first time at Pat's he always played out on the left but with Peterborough he was playing as a holding No 6 midfield player. I see him as a little bit further up the pitch, creating goals. We need to get his fitness up to speed.

"I couldn't believe that his fitness wasn't great. He's worked very hard since he's come back. He seems to be enjoying his football again and if we can get him back playing the way he did they year Pat's won the league I'd be thrilled."

Kenny has done some great business in the off-season. As well as Forrester, Pat's have snapped up Rhys McCabe, Brandon Miele, Gary Shaw, Mikey Drennan, and Dean Clarke.

It's made them dark horses for the league title in many people's books, though Kenny is playing it cool.

"Everyone has strengthened up," he added ahead of Friday night's clash with Cork City at Richmond Park.

"Cork are going to be very difficult. I had a look at them on Saturday against Dundalk and they were very good in the second half. They will be contenders."

Watch Dundalk v Sligo Rovers live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player, Friday, from 7pm with goals from around the grounds on the opening night of the Airtricity League Premier Division