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Sunday 22 October 2017

Bolton mull over Joey deal

Joey O'Brien
Joey O'Brien

Former Ireland international Joey O'Brien could make a return to football with his first club, Bolton Wanderers, after a 19-month absence from the game.

Still only 31, Dubliner O'Brien has not played at any level since his last appearance for West Ham in the Premier League in February of last year and he has been without a club since leaving the Hammers in May 2016.

But O'Brien made an appearance for Bolton's U23 side against Bristol City on Monday and Wanderers are in talks with the ex-Ireland man about a possible contract offer after he battled back from a series of knee injuries.

"Joey has had two weeks training with us now. He has got to dip his toe back into the water, so to speak, get out there and play," says Bolton boss Phil Parkinson.

"He has trained very well. He has had a long time out injured but he's played at a very high level and he's looked good since he came in."

Bolton have struggled in the Championship this season since winning promotion from League One, Wanderers bottom of the table with two points from eight games as they were unable to bring in players due to a transfer embargo which was only lifted this week.

As a free agent, O'Brien could be added to the Bolton squad without delay and boss Parkinson is considering an offer which would allow the Dubliner revive his career.

O'Brien was still in his teens when he made his Premier League debut for Bolton in May 2005. The following season he established himself in the top flight, making 23 Premier League appearances for Bolton and featured in their UEFA Cup campaign.

He also progressed at international level, impressing at right back in Steve Staunton's first game in charge of Ireland in March 2006, a 3-0 home win over Sweden.

After two serious knee injuries restricted him at Bolton, O'Brien returned to action with West Ham in 2011 and helped the Hammers win promotion to the Premier League.

O'Brien won the last of his five caps against Oman in 2012 and his most recent involvement at international level was in 2014.

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