Bohemian FC confirms signings of Estonian internationals Martin Miller and Michael Lilander

Bohemian FC is delighted to confirm the signing of Estonian internationals Martin Miller and Michael Lilander on multi-year deals.

Defender Lilander, 26, and midfielder Miller, also 26, join from Flora Tallinn.

Manager Declan Devine said: “Martin and Michael have been on our radar for a number of months. They bring tremendously versatility in areas where we felt we had to strengthen. They also bring great experience – from playing in European games, winning leagues and playing at international level.

“Michael can play in multiple positions across the back four. He has played for both Flora Tallinn and Estonia at left-back, right-back and centre-back. He is a very technical and attack-minded full-back, and he is someone we certainly feel will add competition and real quality to our defensive unit.

“Again, Martin is a player with great experience. He has 31 international caps, has played at a very high level and has five league titles under his belt. He is a very attack-minded midfield player, as people here may remember from him scoring twice against Shamrock Rovers in Europe before.

“He is a real high-level performer who I feel will really enhance our group. We have a lot of talent and quality in our squad, and we want to make sure that any player we bring in this window will make us better, and these two players certainly will.”

They are the fourth and fifth new signings of the closed season following the arrivals of fellow Estonian Sten Reinkort, and Dubliners Rob Cornwall and Dayle Rooney, bringing the number of first-team players signed for 2024 to 20.

Devine said: “We could have filled our squad quickly at the start of the closed season, and we could have gone after players that other clubs have gone after. But from day one, we have wanted to bring in the right players to the club, and improve what we have already.

“This time last year, we needed to move players on from the club who had only been here for a short period of time. We need to learn from that – I only want to bring in players who make us better. Otherwise you are only filling jerseys or filling your bench, or denying some of the quality young players we have coming through our academy an opportunity.

“We have a very strong nucleus in our squad – players who know the league. I class Jordan Flores as an adopted Irishman, James Akintunde has been in Ireland for years, likewise now for Declan McDaid. And right through our squad, we have a strong Dublin core – players like Rob Cornwall, Paddy Kirk, Danny Grant, James Clarke, Adam McDonnell, James McManus and Dylan Connolly.

“So we are very fortunate that we have that spine here already, and it is important not to look past that, as the club were strategic in signing those players down to longer deals than would have been given out before to give us strong foundations to build on.

“The reality is that to add extra quality to the group this window, we have had to look beyond the league, and that can take time. There are more players tied down at clubs in this league on long-term deals than ever before, so the pool of players familiar to the league and to our supporters that would improve our squad has been limited compared to what it would have been in previous off-seasons.

“So we have worked extremely hard over the closed season to identify players outside the league who could really add to the group. I certainly feel that these two signings will do that.

“We have a squad of 20 players, and we are working on avenues to add more, and we will. I know people get frustrated when signings take a bit longer than they might have expected, but the work that is going on here has been non-stop. Myself, Pat Fenlon and the rest of the staff have been strongly supported by the club in our efforts to get the right players in, and we have people watching games and travelling to games all over the place.

“We will add further to the squad, but we are delighted with the quality of players we have here, and anyone we bring in must be of the quality that they will be pushing to start the first game of the season.”

Bohs continued their pre-season schedule with a 1-1 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic behind closed doors yesterday, with Nickson Okosun on target.

Devine added: “We were dominant in the game in the opening period, and made a raft of changes in the 65th minute. St Pat’s scored somewhat against the run of play.

“Six or seven of our younger players came off the bench for the last 20 minutes, and really excelled.

“Nickson getting a goal today was just reward for the boy because I think he has a big future. He certainly has the ability and potential to be involved for us this season.

“To get the goal was fantastic, but there were some really high performances for us today, especially from Paddy Kirk, Jordan Flores, Rob Cornwall and Adam McDonnell in particular. They were outstanding.”

First-team players signed for 2024 so far (20): James Akintunde, Keith Buckley, Cian Byrne, James Clarke, Dylan Connolly, Robert Cornwall, Luke Dennison, Jordan Flores,  Danny Grant, Paddy Kirk, Bartlomiej Kukulowicz, Michael Lilander, James McManus, Declan McDaid, Adam McDonnell, Martin Miller, Nickson Okosun, Sten Reinkort, Dayle Rooney, James Talbot.

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