Bhoys' deal is carey reward
GRAHAM CAREY'S superb form on loan to Bohemians has earned the Ireland U21 cap the offer of a new contract from SPL side Celtic.
And Carey is considering the idea of agreeing a new deal with the Bhoys but staying on at Dalymount Park for another spell. That way he can play in the Champions League this summer and then return to Glasgow to try and break into the first team at Parkhead.
Blanchardstown lad Carey has been one of the more impressive performers for Bohs this season since he joined on a six-month loan deal from Celtic, scoring three goals in 15 games for the Gypsies and he's in line for his ninth league start of the season tonight as Bohs head across the Liffey to play St Patrick's Athletic, hoping to extend their three-point lead at the top of the table.
Carey's contract with Celtic has run out, but earlier this week the player got notification from the manager-less Parkhead club that he's been offered another year, as Celtic's reserve team boss Willie McStay, who has watched Carey in action for Bohs, recommended a contract extension after seeing him impress for Bohs.
Due to the uncertainty of the manager's position, and also the challenge of becoming only the third Irish-born player (after Darren O'Dea and Cillian Sheridan) to come through the ranks and into the first team at Parkhead in the last five years, Carey is still considering his options and has not rushed to put pen to paper on the contract offer, but the 20-year-old admits he's had a taste for first-team action at Bohs and is keen for more.
"Celtic have offered me another year, starting in July, but at the moment I am leaving my agent, Michael Kennedy, to deal with everything so I can concentrate on the football," Carey told the Herald.
"I have a lot of time to think about what I want to do and hopefully I'll have a few options. The main thing is to see who the new manager will be at Celtic. They have a very big squad already so I'd need to look at my own situation and think about whether I'll get to play there. I might have other offers on the table as well so I need to have a good think about what I want to do.
"I have thought about maybe signing up for a year with Celtic, but staying on with Bohs on loan for the second half of this season.
"The Champions League campaign with Bohs next month would be a massive attraction for me. I want to play at the highest level possible and Champions League is the place to be, it would be great to test myself against great players in the Champions League.
"I have spoken to Willie McStay at Celtic about that already -- if I did sign on for another year at Bohs whether I could finish out the season here, as there might not be much point in me going from mid-season with Bohs to doing a pre-season with Celtic. But it could all depend on who the new manager is and what his plans are.
"I have really enjoyed it at Bohs, playing first-team football is so different to the reserve league in Scotland.
"There are points at stake in every game and every week is a battle, so it's been good to me, and my form here may be part of the reason why they offered me a new deal," added Carey.
The former Shelbourne schoolboy is looking forward to tonight's game away to St Pats with more relish than usual, as it was against Pats in April when he burst onto the scene, winning over the Bohs faithful by scoring in a 3-0 win on his full home debut.
"Tonight is a massive game for us and we want to keep our winning run going," says Carey. "Pats had a bad spell when we played them earlier this season, but they've been on a decent run in the last few weeks and they'll be a big test.
"The Dublin derbies are always good games and there should be a great atmosphere.
"There's always an extra edge to the game when it's a derby game and it's live on the TV."
Bohs regained top spot in the league thanks to the midweek fixtures that saw the Gypsies win at home to Galway United and Cork City lose away to Drogheda United. And while Carey admits that it's not been champagne football from Bohs in recent weeks, the league table is the most important thing.
"Tuesday against Galway wasn't great, but we got the three points and that's the main thing. It was going to be a hard game for us as we were on such a high after winning 1-0 in Cork the previous Friday. We had to work hard for the win but we got two goals and three points," said Carey.
"We're getting results at the moment and though we know we can play better, the league table is the most important thing. If you can pick up points when you're not playing well then it's a good sign."
Due to injuries and suspensions, Bohs boss Pat Fenlon has not picked the same starting XI in consecutive games this season and there will be changes again tonight, with Joseph Ndo, who started in the win over Galway, likely to miss out while Owen Heary and Glen Crowe, who have both missed the last three games, are in contention for a return.
Injury problems remain for St Pats, but former Bohs man Bobby Ryan could come back against his old club for his first appearance of the season.
ST PAT'S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
Live Setanta Ireland (7.45)