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Saturday 10 December 2016

Posh life working out for true dub Forrester

St Patrick's Athletic's Christy Fagan, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team-mates Chris Forrester, left, and Conor McCormack
St Patrick's Athletic's Christy Fagan, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team-mates Chris Forrester, left, and Conor McCormack

The most technically-gifted player in the game here had outgrown the League of Ireland.

Now, for Christopher Forrester, it's all about growing up, in another league and in another country, life different now for the 22-year-old Dubliner since his August move to League One side Peterborough United from St Patrick's Athletic.

"It's strange having to look after myself. I have always lived my mam so it's odd having to cook and clean for myself, it's all part of growing up," he says.

"I had to put the washing machine on the other day and it was a bit tricky, I got there in the end but when I was back in Dublin I had everything done for me.

"I'd leave the dirty clothes there and my mam would do the rest for me, I don't have that any more, maybe I am growing up," he laughs.

Forrester admits some regret at leaving Inchicore but he feels he'd gone as far as possible in Ireland.

"People say that the league at home is on a par with League One here, but it's a big step-up and I am glad I took it," he says. "I have the chance to train full-time every day, the facilities are better here and I think all this will help me in the long run, to become a better player.

"I do regret having to leave Dublin, leave St Pat's. But I had four years there, we won everything we could have won in my time there, I played in the Champions League. I had a great four years but it was time to move on."

Forrester is adapting well to life in England. Peterborough were 18th in the League One table on the weekend that Forrester joined - now they are ninth. It's not just down to him, clearly, as they have a new manager in place now but he has played a part. He's delivered two goals in his nine appearances but has already settled in better than some earlier exports, like ex-Cork City men Gearóid Morrissey and Brian Lenihan, who moved to England before Forrester but have yet to make a real splash across the water. "Fitness has been tough and it has been a step-up," he says. "There is a lot more training, you do a lot more in the gym. It's more a case of having a day's training, instead of just one session. We train in the morning, you have your lunch but then you do more in the afternoon, that has been a step-up and it's been physically tough."

It's a long day: typically, Forrester and the Posh players start work at 9.30am and only leave at 3pm. "Back home, you'd be finished and off home by 12.30," he says.

Forrester has, in his few weeks at the club, ticked some things off the to-do list: his debut and his first goal arrived soon after the move. "I got the first goal last month, we beat Bradford away and I scored one of the two goals, so that was nice," he said.

Attraction

Playing in front of bigger crowds is a big attraction. "Some players go into a shell when you play in front of a big attendance but we played in front of almost 18,000 away to Bradford the other week and we did really well," he says.

Forrester always had that touch of class about him since he emerged as a skinny teenager under Pat Fenlon at Bohemians, but moving to England was always followed by a big question mark. Trials at clubs like Wolves, Hibs and Bristol City came and went with no contract at the end of it, so the Peterborough move happened quickly.

"Their scout had seen a bit of me already so it wasn't a case of me going over to Peterborough on trial and me having to do well in one trial game. I knew they wanted me over and I think that boosted my confidence," he says. Moving was a no-brainer as the timing was good for all parties: defeat for Pats to Cork City in the FAI Cup in August effectively ended the Saints' season and within a week he was gone.

He still harbours a love for the Saints though. "I'll get back to see a few games next summer when we're in our off-season, I might even train a bit with Pats if they'll have me," he says.

"It's been hard at times this season, hopefully they'll be in Europe again next season." Short-term, the aim is to get Peterborough promoted. Long-term, he's young enough to harbour international ambitions.

"If I keep progressing and keep learning, if I can become a better player, who knows what could happen," he says. "And Liverpool away in the FA Cup third round, that's next."

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