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Major boost for Saints as striker Fagan agrees new deal

LIAM Buckley feels that star man Chris Fagan has made the right call by snubbing a potential move to England to sign a new tow-year deal with St Patrick's Athletic.

Fagan and Dundalk man Pat Hoban were the joint top scorers in the Premier Division last season but Hoban is not expected to play in the League of Ireland next season as he's due to sign for League Two side Oxford United shortly.

Former Manchester United trainee Fagan has also been linked with a return to England as former Sligo Rovers boss Paul Cook was keen to bring the Dubliner to Chesterfield, with reported interest from Norway, Sweden and the USA as well.

But following talks since the FAI Cup win earlier this month, when Fagan scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Derry City, he has agreed a new contract with the Saints.

And Buckley, who last week announced the capture of Lee Desmond (Shelbourne) and Shamrock Rovers duo Ciarán Kilduff and Jason McGuinness, is very pleased with his latest bit of business.

"Christy had a decision to make with the offers he had but he has decided to stay at home and I'm really pleased with that," said Buckley. "He spoke to Chesterfield and one or two other clubs here so it's good to have him on board again, I am delighted to get it done.

"He is a popular player with the supporters, he is great in the dressing room and he won our Player of the Year award to go with the PFAI Player of the Year. To pick up those accolades says everything about the season he has had," added Buckley.

Fagan has been on the LOI scene since 2011 when he came home to Ireland after spells in England, Scotland and Spain but he truly found his feet in 2014.

A highlight was scoring away to Legia Warsaw in the Champions League but the feats of finishing as joint top scorer in the league and those FAI Cup final goals will also stay in the memory.

"We're a club that like to share the goals around but to get 20 this season, with his back to goal, is a fantastic achievement for Chris," added Buckley.

"Conan Byrne and Chris Forrester get their share too but Christy's job is a particularly difficult one to do and it was great seeing him get the recognition in the FAI Cup final.

"For the club It was great to get that FAI Cup monkey off our back and Christy will always have that with him, that he was the player to score the goals in the final.

"He also broke the 50-year scoring record for the club. Here's praying that he has a similar season for us next year."

Buckley has made three new signings with the arrival of McGuinness, Kilduff and Desmond, the impressive young defender who made his Ireland U21 debut in the last few days.

But with Keith Fahey's departure for Shamrock Rovers confirmed, Buckley is still in the market for fresh talent, with young keeper Conor O'Malley also signed as one for the future.

"I'm nearly finished in terms of the squad but there may be three or four things to do, I'm delighted to get the bulk of the lads signed back," added the Saints manager.