Bird is preparing to land at United Park
DROGHEDA United are set to swoop for St Patricks Athletic striker Tony Bird when the eircom League transfer window reopens on August 1.The 29-year-old settled a wages dispute with his current club last week but was omitted from the team for the match against Drogheda on Frid-ay with a mystery injury, fuelling speculation about his future.Its understood that the B
DROGHEDA United are set to swoop for St Patrick’s Athletic striker Tony Bird when the eircom League transfer window reopens on August 1.
The 29-year-old settled a wages dispute with his current club last week but was omitted from the team for the match against Drogheda on Frid-ay with a mystery injury, fuelling speculation about his future.
It’s understood that the Boynesiders did speak to the player with St Pat’s knowledge during the time that wages were owed, and that Bird has agreed in principle to come to United Park.
The financial problems at the Inchicore club are well documented and Pat’s manager Johnny McDonnell has been quoted as saying that Bird will be put on the transfer list on August 1, opening the way for Drogheda to make their move. However, it remains to be seen whether any deal would involve a transfer fee or a player swap.
Welsh-born Bird, who has plied his trade with Cardiff City, Swansea City, Kidderminster Harriers and Barry Town in the past, scored 14 league goals for Pat’s last season and netted their winner against Drogheda at United Park last March.
Drogheda boss Paul Doolin has been taking a few days’ well-earned holiday with his family and is due to return this Thursday, in advance of Sunday’s league match against Shelbourne, which kicks off at 7pm in Tolka Park.
His assistant Tommy Dunne, speaking to the Drogheda Independent yesterday, acknowledged the speculation about Bird, while defending the existing strikers at United Park.
‘Paul Doolin keeps his cards close to his chest, so I don’t know much about the situation. People are talking about Tony Bird and names will be linked with Drogheda United because that’s the way this club is going. If we can strengthen the squad for the run-in, that has to be good news.
‘If Tony did arrive, he would be a good addition to the squad. He is a proven goalscorer for a number of years and the main thing we would be looking for is goals, but the lads we have in have done well. It’s not the end of the world if Tony doesn’t come.’
Nevertheless, Drogheda have scored the same number of goals as bottom club Dublin City this season, and it will be interesting to see how the Boynesiders react to the Bird transfer speculation when they face up to the runaway league leaders on Sunday.
Alan Reilly is expected to resume light training this week as he continues his recovery from a niggling knee injury, and there is a chance he could play some part in next week’s FAI Cup tie against Dundalk.
Meanwhile, Dunne described Drogheda’s performance in the 2-0 home defeat by St Pat’s last week as ‘a bit of everything’.
‘The goals were bad goals, but we could still have got something out of the match with the number of chances we had,’ he said.
‘It was a weakened Pat’s side, but they worked hard and whoever scores the first goal in this league is going to be hard to beat.
‘But we still performed okay and we are still third, so we would not be getting too despondent.’
Drogheda United Under-21s play host to Belvedere Under-18s in a friendly this Wednesday evening in United Park at 7.15pm.