Collins eager to get Keane talents back on show with Monaghan
Roddy Collins is prepared to offer ex-Preston and St Patrick's Athletic midfielder Michael Keane a route back to senior football with Monaghan United.
Keane (28), who starred at Championship level as a teenager, has been out of the professional game since an acrimonious parting with the Saints in 2008.
He was sacked because the Saints claimed he was in poor physical condition, but the Dubliner successfully fought a case against the reasons offered for dismissal and received a settlement from the Inchicore club. Nevertheless, other clubs shied away from taking a punt on Keane, who drifted away from the sport before returning to line out and coach in Dublin's Athletic Union League (AUL) with O'Devaney/Dunard.
The Monaghan boss has invited Keane to train with the club this weekend, with the brother of former world boxing champion, Steve, of the opinion that Keane would benefit from the training which gets fighters into shape.
"I'll have him in with my brother, Paschal, three times a week, and I know that if he does that, he'll be in the right nick in a few months," says Collins.
"He's been out of the game for a while and maybe needs to lose a stone and a half or so in weight, but I've seen boxers do that very quickly. He doesn't drink, he's not someone who has put on weight that way, so he just needs to get into the gym and I'm sure he could be a great player for us.
"I remember watching him when he was a teenager at Preston and he ran the show. He's a brilliant talent, and that's why I've invited him to join us."
Collins is trying to bring in a couple of other out-of-work players who are willing to tog out for next to nothing, but, for now, he is happy with the squad he inherited after the departure of Mick Cooke to Drogheda.
The Gortakeegan men had no fixture last weekend as it was their turn for a week off in the 11-team second tier, so they start their campaign at home to Waterford tonight.
Collins, who will no longer appear on 'Monday Night Soccer', but will appear occasionally on RTE for live games, is energised by the challenge. "I've got loads of messages of support and now I just can't wait to get properly stuck in and improve the first team as quickly as possible," he added.