Friday 24 January 2020

Greene insists Rovers have chance if they can weather Swedish storm

Bray Wanderers' Aaron Greene. Photo: Sportsfile
Bray Wanderers' Aaron Greene. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul Buttner

Coming off the bench to play in the Europa League after serious injury and the traumas at crisis club Bray Wanderers brought welcome relief and delight in equal measure for Aaron Greene last week.

And with unfinished business at Shamrock Rovers, the 28-year-old winger hopes he's back in a better place than when he left six years ago. Greene endured an injury-hit first stint at his home-town club in 2012.

Despite Stephen Kenny coming in to succeed Michael O'Neill, then champions Rovers plunged from a season of further promise at Tallaght Stadium to one that simply imploded.

Knocked out of the Champions League by Lithuanians FK Ekranas, Kenny was then sacked that September. Having started just six games, Greene was released by new boss Trevor Croly at the end of the season.

"The deal was on to get back here for over a year, so I'm delighted it's finally happened," said Greene on rejoining Rovers having gladly taken his free release from Bray.

"I've been out the last three months with an MCL injury. So I was delighted to get back on the pitch last Thursday and make my debut, get a touch of the ball again."

Memory The memory of his previous stint at the club, though, meant some Rovers fans weren't entirely pleased to see him. Greene is determined to make a better impression now.

"A lot of people keep saying that my attitude here the first time …(wasn't right)," said Greene. "I was only a young fella then, so I don't know where that has come from.

"I actually had the same injury then that I'm coming back from now. I'm from Tallaght. It means something to me to play here. I want to come here and win things."

A run in Europe this season looks a tall order as Rovers chase a 1-0 first leg deficit against the unbeaten Allsvenskan leaders AIK in the magnificent Friends Arena in Stockholm tonight.

With goals in Europe for Sligo Rovers and St Pat's to his name, Greene is quietly confident the tie remains alive. "AIK will try to kill the game off, we believe, in the first half. They'll come out all guns blazing. We just need to weather that storm and stay in the game. I think we can score. If we stay patient we will get chances."

Having fielded eight full internationals in Dublin 24, AIK have since signed Seb Larsson, who won his 104th cap for Sweden against England in the World Cup quarter-finals, though he's not registered to play tonight.

"We're up against it. You can't say anything different," said Bradley, who plans without the injured Brandon Miele and Seán Boyd. "We just need to be more ruthless in the final third and believe we can score."

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