FOOTBALL: Bristol City new boy thanks Derry City

Rory Holden is delighted with his move to Bristol City.
Rory Holden is delighted with his move to Bristol City.

Midfielder Rory Holden has set himself a target of trying to push into Bristol City’s first team this season.

The 20-year-old, who joined the Championship side yesterday, feels he’s fresh as he embarks on a professional career in England.

“With the season now just starting here in England and with me being involved with Derry all year, I believe I can now kick-on,” he stated.

“Hopefully I can have a good season with Bristol City, play with the U23’s and then try to break into the first team by the end of the season, that’s my goal.

“It’s not to say I have been over run this season at Derry, but I think Kenny Shiels has given me my chance and I couldn’t thank him enough, but I believe that I’m fresh and I’m fit and that I am ready just to start now and hopefully, as I said, just kick-on.”

Holden, who trained with Lee Johnson’s first team earlier this week, admitted he’s still trying to get his head around what was a whirl wind 24 hours.

“I had a trial and trained with the first team for three days earlier in the week, before flying home and then I got word late on Wednesday night that the deal could actually happen, so I flew over on Thursday around 6pm and then finally got the deal done at 10.30pm,” he added.

“Yes it’s a big commitment for me but I actually see it as a step up in my career, by moving to England.

“Now don’t get me wrong Derry City is a great club.

“The fans are amazing and I couldn’t thank them enough from Kenny Shiels right down to John Quigg, Eddie Seydak, Hugh Harkin, all the staff in the first team and all the boys, but I think going to England now will only progress me.

“Yes it was hard leaving my family as well, but they believe in me, so I think I have made the right decision.”

The ex-Top of the Hill Celtic man jokingly remarked that watching ‘Transfer Deadline Day’ was always good, but when you are in the thick of things, it’s a totally different ball game.

“Being in the thick of it was a bit of a nightmare,” he said.

“I remember watching ‘Transfer Deadline Day’ when I was growing up, but actually being involved isn’t the same thing, because you are just running from airports to get a medical, to actually try and sign on the dotted line before the deadline. There’s so much involved with it, in so little time, that it's crazy.”

Only a few months ago the former St Columb’s College student was involved in Northern Ireland U21 set-up and while he wants to get back into Ian Baraclough’s squad, he’s only focusing on life at Ashton Gate.

He also was delighted that former Derry team-mates Conor McDermott and Ben Doherty played their part in Northern Ireland U21’s Euro 2019 qualifying win over Albania, at Mourneview Park.

“Hopefully now I can break into the U21 squad team like Ben and Conor, who I’m buzzing for after their win on Thursday night, but ultimately my first goal is to try and break into the first team over here and then if I get into the Northern Ireland U21 squad, then that's happy days, but I would rather see what happens with Bristol City first.”