O'Donovan's Brunei snub opens door for Zayed move
ROY O'DONOVAN has turned down the opportunity to move to Brunei and link up with fellow Corkman Joe Gamble -- and that could open the door for Shamrock Rovers striker Eamon Zayed to move to the region.
O'Donovan was in talks with Northampton about terminating his contract after returning from a trip to Dubai where he was assessed by the medical staff of Brunei DPMM FC, the strongest team in the tiny nation who actually play their club football in Singapore's S League.
However, he has declined the opportunity and is back in training with his League Two employers.
Former Irish international Gamble is in pre-season training with DPMM after signing up following his release from Limerick at the end of the League of Ireland season.
They had looked to O'Donovan to fill their quota of five overseas players after ex-Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers suffered fitness issues that scuppered his plans to relocate.
Now, they might turn their attentions to Zayed, who has been floated as an option to clubs in the Malaysia and Singapore region that are increasingly looking to recruit from this part of the world. Zayed, the Dublin-born Libyan international, had a high profile stint in Iran, but came back home last July to sign an 18-month contract with Rovers.
However, he struggled to get a run in the team under Trevor Croly and, while he is under contract for the forthcoming year, the 30-year-old's future at Tallaght is clouded in uncertainty.
O'Donovan could still leave Northampton before the end of the month although their boss Andy King will include the 28-year-old in his squad for this weekend's meeting with Torquay if an ankle issue clears up.
The former Sunderland and Coventry player joined the Cobblers last January and was a key figure on their charge to the play-off final at Wembley where they lost out to Bradford. Injuries have stunted his progress this term and they are willing to move the ex-Sunderland and Coventry attacker off their wage bill.
"I base things on present time and he hasn't got the goals he got last year," said King. "Of course, we were a totally different team last year too. Roy O'Donovan is an addition because he is a top player. He's had a bad ankle and we need to know where we stand with that."