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Amond ready to pack bags

IRELAND U-21 cap Padraig Amond says he's ready to return to have another crack at Portuguese football after finishing his loan spell with English side Accrington Stanley.

Amond, 24, was a bit hit at League Two outfit Accrington last season, finishing the campaign as their leading scorer, but his time there under Paul Cook - his former boss at Sligo Rovers - is at an end as his loan spell from Portuguese club Pacos de Ferreira is now up.

The Carlow native has another year left on his contract with Pacos, a top-flight club in Portugal, and while his future is unclear, he says he's willing to stay on for the last season of his contract unless Pacos decide to sell him on.

"I'm in the dark over what happens next but there's a good chance that I will go back to Pacos for pre-season later in the summer and see what happens," Amond told the Herald.

"I went back to Portugal last week, after the season had finished with Accrington Stanley, I trained for a few days with the club and met the new Pacos manager.

"It's hard to know what will happen next, the manager there now, Henrique Calisto, did really well last season but there's talk that he could move on to another job, so another coach may come in and have different plans.

"It's out of my hands as I have 12 months left on my deal there, if the club want to sell me or loan me out again I may have to do that but if not, I'm happy to go back there, work hard in pre-season and see if I can get into the team," added the striker. "There's a really high standard in the Portuguese league and it's great to play against the likes of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.

"They have high hopes for the club next season, this year the main aim was to stay up, last Christmas they were bottom of the table but they went on a great run under the new manager and they finished mid-table."

Amond began his senior career with Shamrock Rovers and won the first of his four U21 caps in 2008 while on the books at Rovers, but a move to Sligo in 2009 saw him make real progress and after a year at the Showgrounds he earned a move to Portugal when Pacos de Ferreira made a bid.

He made 17 Portuguese league appearances in his first season with the club but last year they decided to loan him out and he moved to Accrington, where he would later link up with ex-Sligo boss Paul Cook.

"It was great to work with Paul again as he's a great manager and coach," he added. "The chance of me going back to Accrington has been mentioned but it's out of my hands, for now I'll just enjoy the summer break - I went to Sligo last weekend to see them beat Shamrock Rovers - and see what happens."