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Monday 21 August 2017

Hoolahan's form a boost for boss O'Neill

Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan (left) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the League Cup first round win over Swindon on Tuesday
Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan (left) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the League Cup first round win over Swindon on Tuesday

Wes Hoolahan says he's getting back to full fitness after a difficult summer for the Ireland man.

Now 35, Hoolahan missed part of Norwich City's pre-season programme and was used as a sub for just the last 10 minutes of the first game of the new Championship season last weekend, though he did play a role as he set up the equalising goal which earned the Canaries a point.

He started in a midweek League Cup tie at home to Swindon, scoring one goal and creating another in a 3-2 win, and he feels he is winning his fitness battle.

"I missed two, two and a half weeks and I had three weeks off during the summer, I think I maybe came back too early and I was feeling my thigh. But in the last two or three weeks I have been getting myself back fit and I have been enjoying it," Hoolahan said.

Martin O'Neill names his squad on Monday for the World Cup double header against Georgia and Serbia, and the Ireland boss will hope that players like Hoolahan can get more game time in before the squad assembles in Dublin at the end of the month.

Hoolahan played 20 minutes in the last qualifier, a 1-1 draw at home to Austria in June, but hopes to start in that tie away to Georgia

Meanwhile, former Ireland defender Kevin Foley has found a new club, in the English non-league scene.

Foley (32) was a free agent after his exit from Coventry City and has now agreed a deal with ambitious Billericay Town, who have also signed up ex-Arsenal man Jermain Pennant, Jamie O'Hara and Paul Konchesky in a bid to get into the Football League, the club funded by a major backer.

"I know some of the lads like Jermaine and Jamie as I've played with them before and I was invited down to train and was really impressed with the place," says ex-Wolves man Foley.

"This could be the start of something big. The manager has put his heart and soul into it and it is something for me to get excited about in football again."

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