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Thursday 8 December 2016

Peers: I might go part-time

Defender insists he'll keep options open for best deal

Sligo Rovers stalwart Gavin Peers
Sligo Rovers stalwart Gavin Peers

After 15 years as a full-time professional, Sligo Rovers stalwart Gavin Peers is considering whether to go part-time in a bid to extend his career.

And the 30-year-old believes that more players will be forced to drop out of the full-time game here because of the financial climate in the League of Ireland.

Dubliner Peers has just completed his 10th season at Sligo. But the ex-Blackburn man could be on the move, because while Sligo have offered him a contract for 2016, the financial terms are making Peers think long and hard.

He has offers from two other clubs here as well as that Sligo deal and to stay in shape, he's attending the PFAI training camp for out-of-contract players while also working part-time for An Post. But his career's at a crossroads. "I don't think the league is in great shape at the moment and a lot of players are finding it hard," says Peers.

"The clubs have the upper hand, the budgets are smaller so the clubs can opt for younger players.

"It's hard to stay full-time on the contracts that are being offered, when you take into account the time and the travel involved. It would be a big decision to go part-time, I have been full time for a long while now, since I went to England at the age of 15.

Signed by Sligo in 2006 after spells with Blackburn and Mansfield, Peers starred for the Showgrounds club and won all the major domestic honours.

He was out of favour under new manager Owen Heary at the start of last season and prepared to move on ("I got fed up with football for a while but Micky Adams came in and made it a happy camp again"), but Peers was back in favour under caretaker boss Adams while the recently-appointed manager for 2016 was also keen.

"I met the new manager at Sligo, Dave Robertson, he wanted me to be his first signing and be his captain for next season, but we just couldn't agree on a deal, I had an option for another year on the contract I had with Sligo but they couldn't afford to meet that, so we're in the middle of talks at the moment," he says.

"I am keeping my options open. Last season wasn't great for me or the club but I have had some great years at Sligo and I gave everything I had for the club. I love it at Sligo and I'd like to be back there but my family are based in Dublin now - they moved up last season when it looked like I was moving on - and the deal needs to be right.

"Working in An Post is keeping me busy and I am training away with the PFAI when I can and I'll make a decision after Christmas. I could stay at Sligo, I'm due a testimonial. I have told Sligo what I want and if they meet that I will re-sign but I can't afford to stay there on the contract they have offered."

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