Wednesday 22 November 2017

Ten Irish hopefuls to watch in this season's championship

Keith Fahey (BIRMINGHAM)

This is a big season for the former St Pat's star, who really needs Birmingham to bounce back at the first attempt. May get the chance now for a sustained run in the heart of midfield -- where he is most effective -- and maybe even assume dead-ball responsibilities. One step back for two forward.

Andy Reid


The Dubliner is back to where he started after a move to Blackpool failed to ignite his career. Steve McClaren has been tasked with bringing Forest back to the Premier League. Coaxing the best from Reid will be central to that mission.

Noel Hunt


Presuming that Shane Long eventually does leave before the transfer window closes, a lot of the pressure at Reading will fall on the shoulders of Hunt, who has recovered from injury issues to thrive at this level. Trapattoni will be watching, surely.

Gary Dicker


Another League of Ireland graduate from the past decade, but his progress has gone largely unnoticed. The former UCD midfielder has established himself at Brighton and was a regular in their march to promotion last term. At 25, he still has time on his side.




The Dubliner was tipped for the top as a teenager, made his Champ-ionship debut with a hat-trick for Stoke and then struggled to live up to that billing. Redis-covered himself in a prolific stint in Scotland with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and a switch to Birmingham gives him a chance at this level with a club which has the Premier League on the radar. A huge test.

Keith treacy


Demonstrated his ability at this level with Preston, but was a passenger on a sinking ship and a move to Burnley can get the Dubliner back on track. With a well-regarded young manager, Eddie Howe, the physical left-sided midfielder with an eye for a goal can thrive.

Robert Brady


A controversial omission from Paul Doolin's U-19 squad, it will be fascinating to monitor Brady's progress at Hull. The exciting Manchester United starlet will get a sustained run of senior football at a decent level. He impressed last night with some flashes of fine play during Hull's opening night defeat to Blackpool although the supporters of Hull, United and indeed Ireland will be hoping there is more to come. Much is expected.

Joe Mason


Highly regarded English-born Irish U-21 international who Cardiff shelled out £250,000 for at the beginning of June. Some quality experienced performers ahead of him in the queue; one for the long term though.

Chris McCann


A starring performer in Burnley's promotion under Owen Coyle, the affable Finglas lad saw his Premier League dreams ruined by injury. Attempts to regain fitness were stop-start. Deserves an unbroken run to show what he is capable of.

Kevin Kilbane


Did well in League One with Huddersfield last term, but it is encouraging to see the veteran securing employment -- on loan -- at Championship level with respect to keeping his sharpness for Irish duty. Giovanni Trapattoni will be calling on his services for the autumn climax to Euro 2012 qualification.

Irish Independent

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