LISTEN: 'I just need someone to believe in me': says ex-Charlton Athletic striker
EX-CHARLTON striker, Mikhail Kennedy says he just needs someone to believe in him and give him a chance as he looks to resurrect his career in Ireland.
The 22 year-old Derry man is currently training with Derry City where he spent six frustrating months on loan during the 2017 season.
His contract at promotion chasing Charlton Athletic expires this summer and his departure is a decision which he felt was the best move amid the uncertainty currently surrounding the London club regarding its ownership.
And after seven years in the English capital, he’s looking to rebuild his career closer to home with several clubs already making approaches.
Indeed, several offers from English League clubs have been made while Danske Bank Premiership outfit, Coleraine have already opened talks.
Premiership newcomers, Larne could also be an option as Kennedy would prefer to remain in full-time football and he’s open to a return to his hometown club. However, he’s prepared to bide his time and make the decision which is best for him.
“This is the first time in my career I’ve actually put myself first,” said Kennedy, “I’ve gone out on loan and been told you’re going here and nowhere else and people are doing favours.
“This time the ball is in my court and I can make my own decision. Hopefully I make the one which is best for me.
“I thought I would get a new contract at Charlton like everyone else,” he claimed. “But with the situation the club is in at the minute, there’s a lot of players leaving and even the manager doesn’t have a contract for next season.
“Personally, I didn’t want to hang around and wait to see if we went up or not.
“It’s an important stage in my career. I’m 22 now and the next move is going to be crucial. I do have offers from England in the lower leagues but I’m putting myself first. Whoever wants me most, shows that interest and is going to believe in me, that’s what I need at this stage in my career.
“I’m back playing, feeling fit and enjoying it. I just need someone to believe in me now and give me a chance.”
So has he spoken to Derry City boss, Declan Devine about a potential return to Foyleside?
“I haven’t had too many chats with him and to be fair he’s games coming up and that’s his main focus. He knows I can’t really sign anything until my contract at Charlton expires anyway.
“He’s let me come here to train which I’m thankful for because a lot of managers wouldn’t. I’ll sit down with him in the next couple of weeks and whatever he wants to do we’ll take it from there.
“This is my second day in training and I’m just ticking over and keeping sharp. I’ve only had about a week and a half off but I don’t like sitting about.
“I spoke to Decky and Paddy (McCourt) and they told me to come up and keep sharp. It’s been a good week’s training,” said the former St Columb’s College student.
Kennedy’s last spell at Derry was during the first half of the 2017 season when he made just eight appearances under Kenny Shiels when the club played at Maginn Park. He says the City fans didn’t see the best of him and hopes he gets a chance to put that right in the future.
“I didn’t play regularly and you didn’t see the best. I’m not blaming Kenny (Shiels) or anyone else. There were different reasons off the pitch. I just came off a long season and came into pre-season with Derry and it just didn’t work out well for me. It happens.
“That’s football, you live and learn from your mistakes. I was glad I did come. It was a pleasure to play here and hopefully some day I’ll be able to play at the Brandywell.”
The former Northern Ireland U21 international had two successful loan spells at non-League Chelmsford City and Concord Rangers recently which he believes was vital experience.
“I was out on loan twice with Chelmsford City and Concord and both of them got to the play-offs so they were really successful loan deals . I enjoyed them, especially non-league football which is tough and makes a man out of you.”
With Coleraine showing their hand early, does Kennedy envisage playing in the Irish League next season?
“I didn’t really think about the Irish League. Obviously I want to stay in full-time football but whatever works out best for me.
“I have to think about it financially as well. I’d say a few years ago coming home was probably not a good idea but nowadays it’s different. You see how many players from here go to England now. Coleraine had three that went to England last year.
So people look at the Irish League and League of Ireland differently next year. I said that when I signed for Derry two years ago and look at the boys who have went since. It’s not a Mickey Mouse league. Irish football is a very good standard.”