ARMIN AGANOVIC believes he’s arrived at Derry City at the perfect time in his career as he prepares for his second season in League of Ireland football.
The Swedish defender was first introduced to the Airtricity Premier Division in 2016 when Tommy Dunne signed him for Galway United after impressing in the FIFA Pro tournament in Oslo.
The following season he made the move to the Norwegian Third tier with Raufoss IL where he netted seven times from centre back, but he reckons he’s finally made the right move for his career when joining Kenny Shiels last November.
From the Swedish town of Kristianstad, Aganovic (23) has Bosnian roots but he feels at home in Ireland and is delighted to have relocated to Derry.
He impressed on Saturday, playing 90 minutes at the heart of the City defence in the scoreless draw with Banbridge Town at Crystal Park but he’s certainly not getting carried away just three games into the pre-season campaign.
“The new stadium, playing in the Europa League, it all makes you a little bit more pumped up for the season,” said the Swede. “I think I came to the club at the right time and we have some great days ahead.
“Obviously I can’t wait to play at Brandywell and see the fans when the first game comes around. My desire, especially moving this far away and coming to Derry, is to play regularly and help out the team as much as I can and do the best I can to please the manager, fans and the players. But this is just the beginning. It’s just pre-season.
“No pre-season has ever been a walk in the park. It’s been about working hard and trying to get fit before the season starts.
“People are very friendly here and the people around the club have been very helpful. I’ve been taken care of very well,” he smiled.
Having signed his first full-time, three-year contract with Swedish top flight outfit, Mjallby AIF in 2012, Aganovic’s career has followed the unconventional route. And following a ‘difficult’ season in Norway, he reckons he’s delighted to be back in Ireland.
But life can bring different challenges and last year probably wasn’t the best for my football career. Now I’m in Derry, back playing where I want to play and playing with good boys so I just feel good.Armin Aganovic
“Everybody is human and the mind can be tricky at times when you’re younger. I made the choice based on different things, not just football and now I’m here. I got on very well last season and scored seven goals as a central defender. But life can bring different challenges and last year probably wasn’t the best for my football career. Now I’m in Derry, back playing where I want to play and playing with good boys so I just feel good.”
Following the departure of the experienced Aaron Barry, there’s an opportunity to make the centre back position his own but he faces stiff competition with Darren Cole, Eoin Toal and Gavin Peers all battling for places. Aganovic isn’t short on confidence though and he welcomes the competition.
“I don’t mind the competition. You like to have good players around you. I want to compete in the league as well. I’d rather have it like that.
“When Kenny has me on the pitch I’ll always give 100 per cent and try and keep a clean sheet and get a win. I came a long way to get here so I obviously want to compete and do well and try and make the fans and the team happy.”