McEleney keen to dazzle for Athletic

Date published: 23 February 2018

by Ryan Booth

After an injury-hit start to his Athletic career, Patrick McEleney has revealed he is ready to light up the Park crowd as he prepares to make his long-awaited debut in the home fixture against in-form Southend United tomorrow. 

Richie Wellens’ side currently lie in the Sky Bet League One relegation zone on goal-difference and the introduction of McEleney could act as a huge boost heading into the final third of the campaign.

The 25 year old arrived on a two-and-a-half year deal from League of Ireland side Dundalk on January 1, but has yet to feature for Latics due to a thigh problem.

McEleney, however, believes he can make an immediate impact in order to bolster Athletic’s survival bid.

“I try and excite people,” he said.

“I like to play behind the striker and make things happen.

“I want to bring goals and assists to the team, it’s what I’ve been brought here to do and I’m confident I can do that.”

The attacking midfielder made his first appearance since early November on Tuesday after featuring in a behind closed doors friendly versus a Manchester United XI at Carrington.

McEleney added: “It was good a game to be involved in.

“I thought I did okay, there’s room for improvement but it was great to get back out there.”

Despite the lengthy lay-off, McEleney feels prepared ahead of this weekend’s clash with The Shrimpers and is determined to make a difference.

“It’s a big game, it’s going to be tough but every game in this league is.

“It’s been disappointing for me personally, it’s taken a while but I’m here now.

“Obviously I picked up an injury when I came to the club, I feel like I rushed back too soon and got another setback which wasn’t good.

“I’ve worked as hard as I possibly could to get back into the team, my aim is to stay there now.”

The playmaker is confident of steering Athletic away from relegation to the fourth tier, after using the lay-off as an opportunity to analyse the division

“The game over here is a lot more faster, there’s less time on the ball,” said McEleney. 

“I think can help the team a lot judging from what I’ve seen and I back myself to do so.

“I know which style we play and what our strengths are, it’s been a good opportunity to watch but I’d rather have been playing.

“At times we play some really good stuff, there’s too much quality in the squad to be where we are.

“We’ll just keep plugging away and get ourselves out of trouble.”

Meanwhile, Athletic striker Courtney Duffus has joined League of Ireland Premier League side Waterford FC until June 30.

Duffus has made nine appearances for Latics since joining the club from Everton in the summer.

While the 22-year-old has yet to net a goal in the league, he notched two in pre-season against Accrington Stanley and Spanish side Girona.

The striker has been unfortunate with an illness that had ruled him out for several months at the start of the season.