Place adds his brother to Athlone Town squad

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 25th February, 2009 12:00pm

Athlone Town manager Brendan Place has completed his fourth signing of the pre-season by completing a deal to bring his younger brother to the club.

Centre-forward Stephen Place, joins the club from Leinster Senior League side Glebe North and Brendan Place feels his brother will add to Athlone"s attacking options. Place has already added Emeka Onwubiko, Damien Rushe and Kevin Williamson to his squad.

The signing of Stephen Place took place on Monday, just hours before the deadline passed for signing overseas players and contracted players.

At time of print, Athlone were also awaiting news from the FAI as to whether or not the proper documentation was received in time for the acquisitions of Romanian pair Rares Marin and Adrian Banu.

Brendan Place is also still running the rule of several trialists at the club including Brian Cleary, Thomas McGauley and John McGuinness, who all started last Saturday"s 1-0 friendly defeat to Bohemians.

The Town boss also signed a couple of younger players late last week in Sporting Fingal centre-half Jamie Duffy and St Pat"s right back Ian Finlay.

'They"re good lads but we"ve signed them with an eye on the future. They could feature with the first-team but are also still eligible for the under-20s,' said Brendan Place.

League of Ireland clubs can still sign out of contract or unattached players until May and Brendan Place is confident of adding further players to his squad before the beginning of the First Division season on Friday week.

Speaking about the signing of his younger brother, Brendan Place said: 'Stephen has been doing very well with Glebe North. He"s a strong centre-forward whose good in the air and capable of holding the ball up. He has a great work-rate and we definitely needed additions up front.'

Local forward Noel McGee had been the only recognised striker at the club during pre-season training.

It"s believed Place was also chasing the signature of former Longford Town striker Darren McKenna, but he"s thought to have agreed to join Monaghan Utd.

Athlone faced Tullamore Town last night and are also due to play Shamrock Rovers in their final pre-season match at Lissywoollen on Sunday (kick-off: 3pm).

Meanwhile, injury plagued Athlone player Niall Scullion is determined to make an impact at the club this season.

The 21-year-old featured 19 times for Athlone last season but has been sidelined through injury since last September.

Scullion has a couple of broken bones in his foot but is doing some light gym-work with Athlone and is confident of contributing to the team once his fitness returns.

'I spoke to the new manager and have been at a good few training sessions. The manager told me to get myself right as soon as possible and come back into the set-up. I reckon it could be a good year for Athlone and I"m very determined to be part of it,' Scullion said.

Des Hope captained the side last weekend against Bohemians and Place said Hope is a front-runner to skipper the team for the coming league season.

'Des has been inspirational throughout pre-season and I want him to build on the strengths he has and become an even better player. He has the potential to captain the side,' Place said.

Meanwhile, former Athlone defender Jim Sheridan has signed for Longford Town and David O"Dowd has joined Mervue Utd. Last season"s goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly has also signed for Sligo Rovers.

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