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Owen eyes up a place at Palace


Owen Garvan. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Owen Garvan. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Owen Garvan. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

FORGOTTEN man Owen Garvan hopes to force his way back into the reckoning with Crystal Palace this month and get his Premier League career back on track.

The Dubliner played a role as the Eagles won promotion from the Championship last season, but the Premier League campaign has been a major disappointment for Garvan, 25.

He played in the first three games of this season, earning a starting role in midfield for the season-opener against Spurs, but when Palace's then manager Ian Holloway had to formalise his 25-man squad on August 31 according to Premier League rules, Garvan was controversially left out, meaning that the former Home Farm man could not play for the side.

Garvan and Holloway fell out. But even Holloway's exit as manager in October didn't lead to a recall as Garvan has been battling with injury and only last week made a comeback with the reserves.

He is now close to full fitness and, as the 25-man squad restriction is lifted during January, the former U21 cap is able to play if selected by new Eagles boss Tony Pulis.

"I am back in training with the first team and I had a reserve team match, so hopefully I can get back in the manager's plans, so we will wait and see what happens," Garvan told the Herald last night.

"It has taken me longer than planned to get back, but I am feeling good now and I just hope my chance will come. I am able to play, anyone at the club is eligible to play for this month as the 25-man squad does not kick in again until February.

"It has been frustrating as my aim all along was to be fit for January 1 as I knew I would be eligible to play, but I am close to full fitness, I have trained for a few days without a bad reaction, so now it's just a question of whether I can force my way in soon.

"We have Stoke tomorrow in the league, then Wigan in the FA Cup and then Hull in midweek, so fingers crossed, those are three games that I'd like to be involved in and I might know where I stand in February.

"The manager has to name a 25-man squad again on February 1, so my aim is to get in there, this is a big month for me. It was a bit unfortunate what happened before, the falling-out I had with the last manager which meant that I couldn't play.

"But I have been fit for two weeks now and I just want to show the current manager what I can do and that I deserve to be included when he has to pick his 25 players at the end of the month," added Garvan, who had a tough time under former boss Holloway, who is now in charge of London rivals Millwall.

"It was unfortunate what happened, for me not to make it into the 25-man squad but that's just what happened," he says.

"You need to have your own beliefs, but we just clashed over one or two things and that was it. But football moves on and you have to get on with it, now I just want to do well for the new manager.



"I haven't had too many dealings with Tony Pulis as I have been injured for a lot of the time he has been here, so that has been frustrating, but hopefully I have done enough to get his attention."

The former Ipswich Town man admits that it has been a frustrating period at Selhurst Park, but he also feels for fellow Dubliner Paddy McCarthy, still Palace's club captain, who has been out through injury for over 18 months.

"I am frustrated at being out for a short space of time, but Paddy has been out for nearly two years."

In terms of the international side, Garvan's career has stalled.

Holder of 16 under-21 caps and a long-time captain at that level, he was in the Ireland squad as an unused sub for the first two games of Giovanni Trapattoni's reign, in 2008, but has yet to win a senior cap.

He has history with Roy Keane, as Garvan was first dropped, sidelined and then sold by the current Ireland number two when the Corkman was Garvan's manager at Ipswich.

But an Ireland call-up is not on his mind. "You can only be recognised by your country if you are doing well for your club, my main aim now is to get back into the Palace side and take it from there," says Garvan.

"I played under Roy at Ipswich, so we will cross that bridge when we come to it, but I'm not really thinking that far ahead."