A Derry goalkeeper who once kept Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Gerard Pique at bay, may make his debut for Institute later this week.
Institute manager Paul Kee may give a debut to new signing Saul Deeney, in their crunch clash with Dungannon Swifts; on Friday evening (KO 7.45pm).
The 31-year-old goalkeeper, who has signed until the end of the season, returns home this week after spending over a decade in England and Kee admits he may throw the ex-Derby County man in at the deep end.
Deeney came to the fore way back in 2006 when in the FAI Cup for non-league Burton Albion he kept a clean-sheet against a mighty Manchester United side which had the likes of Gerard Piqué, Wayne Rooney and the recently crowned Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo all playing.
The Red Devils had to endure the unwelcome prospect of an FA Cup third-round replay after they were held to a goalless draw by non-league outfit Burton Albion FC, thanks to the Derry man’s heroics.
United went into their game against Burton at the Pirelli stadium as red-hot favourites, but it was the home team that took the initiative early on. Only a goalline clearance from Phil Bardsley prevented Jon Shaw handing Nigel Clough’s side a shock lead on 14 minutes and he repeated the feat just before half-time to deny Darren Stride as United struggled on a heavy pitch.
The visitors did have chances at the other end, with Richard Jones and Louis Saha both going close, but it was the second-half introduction of Wayne Rooney that caused the home team the most problems. The England striker twice forced saves from Saul Deeney, and the 22-year-old goalkeeper made another stunning intervention in added time to deny Jones.
The non-league outfit held on for a lucrative replay at Old Trafford where Albion lost but picked up around £750,000 in gate receipts and TV fees.
Barcelona and Spain legend, Gerard Pique played in those games for Manchester United and recalled years later: “We came here with United and normally when you draw against a lower division side you expect an easy game.
“And it wasn’t an easy game.”
Stute were in talks to sign Deeney in August after Michael Doherty moved to Coleraine, but things didn’t work then, however Kee has got his man now.
“Hopefully if all the paper work and he comes through a training session then he might be involved, but we’ll wait and see,” stated Kee.