Donegal style set to continue, says assistant boss Rory Gallagher

Donegal assistant manager Rory Gallagher says the Ulster county will continue to play in the same style which helped them win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship last year.

Jim McGuinness' side play Kildare in their opening National League Division One game at Croke Park on Saturday.

"I can't see our style being very much different but it's all about improving individually and collectively.

"We will be treating every match as a big game," said Gallagher.

"Kildare have a settled look about them and the addition of Seanie Johnston will be a massive plus. I see them as a big threat later in the summer.

"Most people believe the top eight teams in the country are contesting Division One this year and to play against these counties is a great way of finding out about your team.

"It asks questions of players, whether they can compete against other players in their own individual battles.

"We would like to make the NFL semi-finals but, if not, we will be delighted if we can identify a couple of new players who would be capable of facing Tyrone in the Ulster SFC on 26 May," continued Gallagher.

Donegal will be without injured players Karl Lacey, Neil Gallagher, Christy Toye and David Walsh on Saturday, while Mark McHugh is not fully fit following a three-month lay-off, and corner back Paddy McGrath is struggling to be ready.

"It is the nature of this time of year that we have a few ruled out as we have been doing some heavy work to build up the players' fitness.

"The majority of them will be back by the third game of the league, apart from Lacey, who won't play until the end of March at least because of the cartilage issue in his hip."

Meanwhile Kildare boss Kieran McGeeney is expecting a tough test against the Ulster side.

"Donegal are going to have a lot of confidence and belief going back to Croke Park, given that the last game they played there was the All-Ireland Final," he conceded.