Saturday 23 February 2019

Saints the frontrunners to secure services of former favourite Forrester

Chris Forrester: Keen to return home to Ireland. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Chris Forrester: Keen to return home to Ireland. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

St Patrick's Athletic are the clear frontrunners to sign Chris Forrester after the Dubliner's contract with Aberdeen was terminated due to personal reasons.

Forrester signed for the Scottish side from Peterborough in the summer for a fee of £200,000. He agreed a three-year contract, but has made just eight appearances with all but one coming off the bench.

The 26-year-old has a daughter in Dublin and has battled homesickness throughout his time overseas. His family suffered a bereavement before Christmas which was a major factor in his request to leave Pittodrie.

He made a big impression across the water when he joined Peterborough from St Pat's in 2015 and was quickly promoted to club captain in addition to being named in an extended Ireland squad.

Two years ago this month, he impressed in an FA Cup tie with Chelsea and Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony said Forrester was the best player in League One and worth "millions and millions".

However, he found it hard to maintain that level and Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes said that off-the-pitch factors were behind the player's desire to come back to Ireland.

"It's with a lot of sadness and regret that we've terminated Chris' contract. At his request we've allowed him to be back with his family in Ireland," said McInnes.

"He's had a lot to contend with in his personal life and, as a club, we have an understanding of the situation and we wish him well with his future career."

Forrester has been linked with a move to champions Dundalk who were keeping tabs on his situation.

But it's believed that a return to Inchicore is on the cards. The player enjoyed his time with the Saints and they are keen to make a push this term under new boss Harry Kenny.

He has recruited well and they are expected to sign Sligo Rovers midfielder Rhys McCabe before attempting to put the finishing touches to a Forrester deal.

Dundalk are looking to strengthen in midfield and are close to agreeing a permanent deal with Wigan's Jordan Flores. Ex-Irish U-21 international Sean Murray - who is currently in Denmark - is on the radar too.

Preston defender Andy Boyle could return to his former club but suggestions a deal is imminent have been denied by club sources.

Indeed, it's understood that he has options in Scotland after a loan spell at Dundee before Christmas.

Boyle has found opportunities limited at Preston since moving to Deepdale off the back of Dundalk's European exploits in 2016.

The Dubliner is out of contract in the summer and would have to reach an arrangement with Preston if he were to come home. Shamrock Rovers are also in the equation and, while Dundalk have strength in the centre-half area, they would not like to lose Boyle to a rival.

However, it's entirely possible that both sides will miss out.

Meanwhile, Drogheda United teenager William Hondermarck has joined Norwich City.

The 18-year-old impressed with the First Division side last term and really announced himself by making a positive contribution to their shock FAI Cup win against Shamrock Rovers. He was born in France but is hoping to represent Ireland.

Drogheda will receive a fee for the attacking midfielder who was previously involved in the underage set-up at Shelbourne. His old colleague Ali Reghba is in the process of agreeing a move to Leicester having made his mark with Bohemians.

Irish Independent

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