The newly signed Irish forward is hoping to make an immediate impact with DPMM under Steve Kean who he says has set the highest standards in training
By Kieran Willowson
New Brunei DPMM FC signing Roy O’Donovan has expressed his optimism in establishing a positive start to the upcoming S League season ahead of his new club’s league opener against Albirex Niigata this Saturday.
The marquee signing met his team-mates and trained with his new club for the first time early this week. New DPMM head coach, Steve Kean, praised his sharpness despite the player having only just arrived on a long-haul flight from the UK.
O’Donovan appeared enthused as ever in a week that will see the new S League season commence. The Irish striker reveled in his delight of joining the club and could not wait to get things rolling in his first playing experience away from Europe.
The 28-year-old shared that it was the right decision for him to grasp the opportunity of playing overseas in his peak years.
“It will be very different but I’ve needed something fresh and something new,” he said.
“This came along and I think this is the right thing for me at the right time. I’m still a young guy and I am optimistic that we will have a positively successful season.”
The former Northampton Town forward hinted that it may take a couple of matches before he returns to full fitness but was pleased of his training preparations.
“I work extremely hard every day to get to the level I know I can get to and I’ll do what the manager and coach asks me to do and hopefully, the goals come, the wind comes and it’s good times for DPMM,” he added.
The League of Ireland championship winner will bring much-needed experience from playing in a superior level which included a spell in the Premier League. His most recent accomplishment was reaching the League Two play-offs, the fourth tier of English football, where he scored in the first leg of Northampton’s 1-0 play-off win.
O’Donovan had previously played with Queens Park Rangers loanee Kevin Doyle in his time at Cork City before both players eventually went separate directions. DPMM team-mate Joe Gamble is also a Cork City peer of the forward.
The former Irish youth international hoped that his new team can create an immediate impact and build some momentum as the season progresses.
“The coach I think is fantastic,” he said of Kean, who last managed Blackburn Rovers. “He made a really good name back in the UK. The training straight away has been very professional, very sharp and very intense as you’ve seen today. No-one gets off easy. We’re going to be fit and we’re going to work hard."
As a player who carries the distinction of having played in the top four tiers of English football, O’ Donovan revealed that he has never set a target for number of goals, adding that he not only aims to score but also set-up as many as he can for his team-mates.
“It’s all about playing for the team,” he stated. “It’s easy to say that you’re going to sign this player and that player but we all have to work together. You’re a component within the team, and hopefully I’m a good one, I’m a strong component.”
Meanwhile, DPMM have been training intensely ahead of their first match, with Kean devising practical approaches designed to cause difficulties for their opponents, especially in gaining possession.
The Scotsman revealed that most of the players in training looked to be in tip-top condition and were available for selection ahead of the trip to Singapore to face Albirex Niigata on Saturday night. Goalkeeper Wardun Yussof, however, will not be available as he is completing his suspension brought forward from last season.