FORMER Ireland U21 and Everton man Aidan Downes hopes that he can finally kick-start his career at Bohemians.
The Dubliner has played only a handful of games since he left Everton in 2008 as spells with Yeovil Town and Shamrock Rovers were hampered by injury, but Downes, 23, is now back to full fitness and eager to impress with the Gypsies in tonight's Dublin derby against Shamrock Rovers.
“My career has been stop-start for the last few years and I haven't done a lot, but I'm hoping that this move to Bohs can get things going for me again,” says Downes, who hopes to make his full debut for the side after three sub appearances.
“When I left Everton I went to Yeovil Town and I enjoyed my time there but I had some trouble with my knee and missed a lot of games. When I came home to Dublin I signed for Rovers but I only got one game for them in one of the cup competitions, and I was out of the game for a few months after I left Rovers.
“Pat Fenlon asked me down to train with Bohs, they gave me a contract and I was happy to sign,” added the Blanchardstown lad.
With striker Anto Flood missing due to a shoulder injury he picked up in a car accident, Bohs boss Fenlon could throw Downes into the starting XI against Rovers, and the player says he can't wait.
“I haven't played in a Dublin derby yet but I've heard all about how important the game is so I'd love to play,” he admits.
“And it's going to be a hard game for us. Some people were saying that we might catch Rovers on the hop because they've just been knocked out of the Champions League and they might be distracted, but I know some of the players in their squad from the time I was at the club. I know the way they think and they'll be looking to prove themselves against us, they won't be feeling sorry for themselves about the Champions League.
“If anything, we could face a real backlash from Rovers in this game so we'll have to be ready to deal with that, but we have a good side.”
Bohs were one of the form teams of the league before the mid-season break as they won four league games in a row in June/July, but due to postponements for the European games and the mid-season break, it's just under a month now since Bohs played a league game.
Rovers are missing at least five first team members as Chris Turner, Ken Oman, Pat Sullivan, Karl Sheppard and Stephen O'Donnell are all out while Gary McCabe is a doubt.