Rochdale's sizeable contingent of Irish players was swelled further in the January transfer window - and the two new boys could go straight into the team for the League One clash with Charlton on Saturday.

Corkman Brian Barry-Murphy bolstered his squad with the acquisition of Conor Grant and Conor Shaughnessy last Monday.

Galway man Shaughnessy, a 24-year-old defender/midfielder, came to a mutual agreement for the termination of his contract with Leeds United. Grant, 19, joined Sheffield Wednesday from Shamrock Rovers back in 2017 but has moved on in search of more first-team opportunities.

Waiting to greet them at Rochdale were Eoghan O'Connell, Paul McShane, Jimmy Ryan, Jimmy Keohane and Gavin Bazunu.

The Dale are currently 18th in the 24-team division but there's few teams more entertaining to watch. Barry-Murphy's men have scored 40 goals, conceded 48. They don't do dour stalemates, with the boss implementing a free-flowing expansive style since taking the reins in March 2019.

"Despite the joking, one of the criteria isn't that you have to be Irish!" Barry-Murphy said when reflecting on his recent transfer business.

"Conor [Grant] played with Gavin Bazunu when he was very young, so they have a connect there. He is someone I believe we can give a platform to in league football and if he takes that he will be hugely exciting for the supporters and for us moving forward.

"He's a naturally gifted player and talented in the final third. I think he has all the attributes to be a top attacking midfield player.

"It's taken a while to make real progress, but we have a young squad that is capable of providing excitement."

"Conor Shaugnessy was very highly regarded earlier in his career with Reading, up in Scotland and then at Leeds. We feel he is at a point in his career, similar to Eoghan O'Connell 18 months ago, where is looking to put himself back into that high level of football that he was at, and we feel we can help him achieve that.

"It's a great for us to be able to add players that will be with us beyond this season. We’ve combined both really well recently, in terms of permanents and loans, and it adds to the sense of excitement that the group is forming.

"It’s taken a while to make real progress, but we have a young squad that is capable of providing excitement going forward. The continuation of that will be next season when we feel as if we have a core group that will get stronger and stronger."

Charlton meanwhile are eighth, 14 points ahead of Rochdale. They will be without Conor Washington for the trip to Spotland.

Washington has been out of action since he was forced off in the Addicks' 1-0 win over MK Dons on 26 January. 

On-loan Norwich defender Akin Famewo could be involved after returning to full training this week. Diallang Jaiyesimi is poised to be handed his debut after sealing a deadline-day move from Swindon.