Friday 16 November 2018

Sava tipped for the top

Drogheda stopper nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year gong


GABRIEL Sava is the latest Drogheda United player being tipped for a possible career across the water, after being nominated for the Airtricity/Irish Soccer Writers Goalkeeper of the Year award.

The 26-year-old Rome-born stopper is in contention for the prestigious accolade with Derry City's Gerard Doherty and former Drogheda United ace Gary Rogers, while manager Mick Cooke has made the final shortlist of six for Personality of the Year.

Both have already won awards from RTE's MNS programme for Manager and Goalkeeper of the Season respectively, while Cooke is also a nominee for RTE Sport's Manager of the Year gong, and Ryan Brennan recently had a successful trial with Sheffield Wednesday.

Assistant manager Robbie Horgan, a former Drogheda United goalkeeper himself, is better placed than most to comment on the progression of Sava, who was once on the books of Lazio and also played for Drogheda Town and Monaghan United before following Cooke to Hunky Dorys Park.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Horgan said: 'Gabriel's nomination is well deserved, we're delighted to have signed him back because I know he would've been hot property for other clubs. Mick did well there.

'I looked at Gabriel in the last three months of the season and it might sound strange to say it, but he actually looked like a keeper. He has looked after himself and filled out and he now has the physique to go with the ability.

'He would love to go away to England and a lot will depend on next season. If he has another good year then something could happen.'

The Airtricity/Soccer Writers awards will take place in Dublin's Conrad Hotel on January 11th, the night before the Drogheda United reassemble for preseason training.

Cooke already has 20 players signed for 2013 - 16 of last season's squad plus Gary O'Neill, David Cassidy, Graham Rusk and Paul O'Conor - and Horgan said he believes that there will be no more than two additional players joining the Boynesiders for next season.

'For the sake of the Setanta Cup, Europe and a few extra league games we could do with bringing one or two more players in, but we're not going to sign two for the sake of bringing the numbers up to 22.'

One player that Drogheda would be interested in signing is a right-back who can also play at centre-half, while another player on the radar is the highly-rated Kevin Dawson, a midfielder who was previously with Shelbourne and Sporting Fingal. However, a number of other clubs, including Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's, are also believed to be interested in the 22-year-old, whose brother Stephen plays for Barnsley in the English Championship.