GREG SLOGGETT is ‘proud’ of what he achieved at Derry City last season but doesn’t expect his former club to do him any favours when they meet on the opening day of the season in Dundalk next month.
For the second successive season the midfielder will line up against an ex-employer on the opening day of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division having made his Derry City debut in the 3-0 win over UCD at Brandywell last February.
The 23 year-old Meath man hopes to impress enough in the Liliywhites’ pre-season campaign which gets underway this weekend to earn a starting berth against the Candy Stripes at Oriel Park on February 14th.
And he expects it to be a tough opener for the champions against a Derry team which has recruited strongly during the close season.
“I’m excited and hopefully I can break into the starting XI and make my competitive debut in the league for Dundalk against Derry,” said Sloggett.
“It’s a huge game and you always want to win your first game no matter who it is. Last year it was against UCD for Derry and this year it’s against Derry for Dundalk. I’ve got a taste of what it’s like to play against your former club so it’s a game I’ll be looking forward to.
“Hopefully I will be well received by the Derry fans, even if that’s just wishful thinking,” he laughed. “Derry have made strong signings and without a doubt will be competing up around the top of the table again.
“I know for a fact, under Declan, they will continue to drive and continue to do well. He will have them fit and ready to go for the first game of the season.”
Sloggett, who made 37 appearances for Derry in 2019 and captained the team five times, looks back fondly on his sole season on Foyleside. And he claims he is forever indebted to the club and the people of Derry for helping him progress his career.
“I look back with pride to have been a part of what we achieved last season and to have had the honour of standing in as captain on a few occasions and playing my part in what was a great season.
“I will always look back on my time with Derry and being in and around the city with fondness. The people were so good to me, especially in the last few weeks when my dad took sick. There was an endless amount of people there to assist and help and I will forever be in their debt and full of gratitude and appreciation for the people up there.”
The lure of playing with last season’s EA Sports Cup and league champions proved too much for Sloggett and he believes it was the right decision in terms of his career development.
“It was a difficult decision to leave,” he admitted. “Obviously you want to be successful and the proximity from home is important. Football development can’t be overlooked, however, and playing with the best calibre of players in the league at the moment at Dundalk can only stand in my favour developing my football pursuing the best career possible.”
“There is an abundance of quality there but I’d like to think I bring something to the table as well and hope I can offer things to Dundalk. I will be looking from day one in preseason to make my case and hopefully I can start the first game of the season against Derry and many more games throughout.”