Tim Clancy says nobody at St Pat's is setting specific targets ahead of the new SSE Airtricity League campaign, but the new boss is quietly building a squad many will tip to challenge for the title.

Clancy has always been open about his ambitions to go as high as he possibly can in the game ever since he took the reins at Drogheda United four years ago, when he was just 33.

He did an excellent job at the Drogs. Promotion to the top flight in 2020 was followed by a solid campaign that saw them maintain their Premier Division status, with many good young players kicking on impressively under the watchful eye of Clancy and his No 2 Kevin O'Doherty.

That good work didn't go unnoticed. Clancy was on Dundalk's radar before they swooped for Stephen O'Donnell, with Clancy ultimately replacing O'Donnell - who departed for Dundalk - in Inchicore and Doherty stepping in to the hot seat at Drogheda in a hectic off-season merry-go-round.

Having brought Mark Doyle and Joe Redmond with him to the Saints from Drogheda, the acquisition of Bolton striker Eoin Doyle has really turned heads as the FAI Cup winners look to build on last season's second-placed finish.

St Pat's may have lost O'Donnell, but in Clancy, they have another young manager hungry for success.

Eoin Doyle's arrival has give St pat' a major boost

"I've been looking for this opportunity since I got a managerial position - full-time football was where I wanted to be," he said.

"I'm coming into a job with a team on an upward curve. They'd a really good season last year. I'm looking to add to that and try to bring it on more.

"The chairman has been very supportive. Obviously we want to try and get as close to the top of the league as possible but there's been no targets or pressure put on.

"Listen, we're going to go in and try to do better than we did last year. It's up to a number of teams to try and close the gap on Shamrock Rovers. We'll certainly be one of them. We'll give it the best shot we can."

Clancy has an excellent track record working with younger players and aired his pride at seeing the progress some of his old Drogs players have made in the last 12 months.

"Last season off the back of part-time football, Killian Phillips is gone to Crystal Palace, Dan O'Reilly went to Hamilton Academical, James Brown is gone to Blackburn Rovers," he added.

"I see it as being part of my job to try and help and develop players, to do the best I can for them.

"The reward you get for that is, when they do really well, the team does well. It's beneficial to everyone that you have a good relationship between all the staff and the players.

"It's great to see young lads do well. I sat down with a lot of them this time last year and said, 'just give us one more year in the Premier Division' because there was a lot of interest from clubs from within the League of Ireland. Everything we spoke about has come to fruition with regards to opportunities they've got gotten.

"It's good when that happens. It's not just hot air you're shouting... promising people this, that and the other. The fact the lads have got their moves off the back of a season at Drogheda last year is brilliant for them and subsequently it's been beneficial to myself as well that we had a good season. I've been given a brilliant opportunity to manage Pat's."

James Brown excelled for Clancy at Drogheda United

Clancy wouldn't be drawn on the messy nature of O'Donnell's departure, while he also reflected on the emotional wrench of departing the Drogs, where he leaves behind his trusted sidekick Doherty.

"I loved it at Drogheda. I'd a brilliant relationship with the chairman. It was quite sad, [his exit] went very quickly in the end. As soon as the Pat's interest came... it wasn't one I was going to ever turn down, but it was sad to leave Drogheda.

"Kevin has had a career with An Post for 17 years I think. It's not something you walk away from lightly. I had asked him why he did the Pro License, if it was because he wanted to manage again.

"He said, 'I think I might'. So he's obviously delighted to get the opportunity at Drogheda. He's brought Daire [Doyle] in with him and they've put a good squad together. I'd four years with Kev, it was brilliant to see him get that opportunity."

As for the challenge ahead, Clancy concluded: "I'm only focusing on next season. We're not touching on what happened previously. We'll do things our way - different to what it was beforehand but it's certainly really exciting for us. We're building a squad to try and be really successful this season."