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Luke's making most of second chance

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Luke Wade-Slater is targeting another win for Bohemians against Waterford tonight

Luke Wade-Slater is targeting another win for Bohemians against Waterford tonight

SPORTSFILE

Luke Wade-Slater is targeting another win for Bohemians against Waterford tonight

Working on cars in a garage by day and training at night with a League of Ireland club is a long way away from the riches and glories of the Premier League.

But returned emigrant Luke Wade-Slater, on form with a table-topping Bohemians side, feels he is living the dream right now as he makes the most of his second chance, on home soil.

Turning 21 tomorrow is one reason to celebrate but the winger has been given reasons to be cheerful by his form with Bohs: three starts, three wins and three clean sheets, sending Bohs into tonight's game away to Waterford as unlikely league leaders.

"I think we were odds-on to go down, so to be top after three games is great, but it's early days and we have a lot of work to do, we have got her with hard work and we won't let that drop," says the Dunshaughlin lad.

"And it's been a dream for me. When I came back home I wasn't sure if I would get to play and I am very grateful that I got a chance. It was easy for me to bed in here, I knew a few of the lads from St Kevin's Boys, and the older lads took me under their wing so it's been brilliant so far."

Of course being back in Ireland and playing for Bohs at the age of 20 was not in the plan when Wade-Slater left St Kevin's Boys to join Stevenage, a touch of glamour at the League Two club in the form of the then first team manager, Teddy Sheringham (right).

Two league appearances for Stevenage, and a couple of games on loan to non-league side Kings Langley, was as far as Wade-Slater got, and last Christmas, with six months left on his contract, he opted to come home. "A lot of stuff goes through your head when you come home, all the boys who go to England and find it doesn't work out have to think 'what am I doing to do?' but you keep going," says Wade-Slater, part of a group of six young players at Bohs who were all signed after spells cross-channel.

"It's not as if we are bad players but the players who have come back from England have shown how good we are, players not just here at Bohs but at Waterford, Rovers, across the league, we show we are good enough.

"In the lower leagues, I think it's more of a leap to go from Ireland to somewhere like Stevenage than going to the likes of Man United, if you go over there and you don't do well you can leave yourself stuck, but if I hadn't gone away I don't think I would be the player I am today.

"When you go away, everyone thinks you are living the high life but they don't know what it's really like. You don't complain as there are loads of people who would rather be a footballer than do the job they do, if it goes well you are living the best life and if it doesn't go your way, it's not the end of the world."

That's why Wade-Slater is happy to be a working man as well as a footballer.

"Yeah, I work in a garage in Crumlin with my uncle, to keep myself busy," he says.

"Stripping and fitting cars, working away, just to keep myself busy, I didn't want to be just sitting in the house. I enjoy it, I keep busy during the day, I have days off when Bohs have a match so I can focus.

"We've had a great start, beating Rovers on Monday was brilliant and now we go to Waterford and see what we can do."


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