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Saturday 10 December 2016

Hunt and Foley hit comeback trail with trials

29 May 2012; Kevin Foley, Republic of Ireland, in action against , Tuscan Selection. International Friendly, Tuscan Selection v Republic of Ireland, Stadio Melani, Pistoia, Italy. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
29 May 2012; Kevin Foley, Republic of Ireland, in action against , Tuscan Selection. International Friendly, Tuscan Selection v Republic of Ireland, Stadio Melani, Pistoia, Italy. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Former Ireland internationals and Premier League regulars Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley hope they can do enough on trial this week to earn the contracts that could get their careers back on track.

Hunt, 34, has been without a club since he was released by Ipswich Town at the end of last season, but he has agreed a short-term deal with League One side Coventry City and was in action for their U21/reserve side in a trial game yesterday.

Also on trial is his former Wolves and Ireland team-mate Kevin Foley, 31, who has been given a chance to prove himself at Ipswich by his former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy.

Foley joined Danish side FC Copenhagen last year but his time there was ended prematurely by a shoulder injury and he has been back in the UK since the summer.

Trials at Shrewsbury and Reading did not lead to contract offers, but with McCarthy's Ipswich side missing defenders, a move to Portman Road, even short-term, could be on the cards as Foley played in a trial game yesterday.

"He's a great bloke, he'd fit in fabulously with the lads, if he's all right, if he's fully fit, but he looks it. He's trained with us and he looks the part at the moment," McCarthy said of Foley.

"He was out playing in Denmark, he hurt his shoulder and he had to have an operation in the summer.

"That doesn't bother me too much. If it was his legs it might be bothering me, but it was his shoulder.

Gentleman

"He's a gentleman, he's a lovely fella, he'd fit in perfectly with the rest of the lads. I hope he proves that he's worth it."

Foley made the headlines in the build-up to Euro 2012 when he travelled to Italy for Ireland's pre-tournament training camp but was controversially axed from the squad at the last minute by Giovanni Trapattoni and replaced by Paul McShane.

One man who did make it to Poland in 2012, winger Hunt, is also attempting to revive his club career, with Coventry.

Their manager, Tony Mowbray, has already signed one Premier League veteran, Joe Cole, but if Hunt impresses he could also win a contract.

"He's with the U21s to get a game and let's see how it goes over the next few weeks," said Mowbray, who watched Hunt play for Coventry's second string yesterday.

"It's a short-term deal, let's see what happens. If someone comes in for him and want him we might have to shake his hand and wish him well but if he does well, we may well do something longer.

"My phone rang one night when I was watching the telly and it was the boy [Hunt] himself.

"He asked if he could come and train. I agreed to let him come in and told him there wouldn't be a deal there because we were pretty overloaded in wide players.

"But I have to say, he was a bundle of energy, very talented with the ball and can pick passes that some of our younger boys couldn't even think about, let alone see."

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