Deegan is back

Last updated : 29 September 2011 By Covsupport News Service/RD

Coventry City's combative Irish midfielder Gary Deegan returned to the side as substitute on Tuesday and scored the equalising goal.

Deegan was sent on mid way into the second half and 15 minutes later he was on the score sheet to make it 1-1 to the Sky Blues after going behind to an early Blackpool goal.

Nicknamed Pitbull because of his feisty, combative, no nonsense attitude both on the field of play and on the training ground, had been out for 18 months with an ankle injury and a later thigh strain picked up during a pre-season friendly at Leamington.

Having put Coventry back into the game, he was asked by the CT if Blackpool's late equaliser had taken the gloss off his return, he said, “A little bit but I have waited a long time to play at the Ricoh Arena again.

"It’s been a long time you know, so it is just great to get out there for me personally, regardless of the result, but, collectively, the team are disappointed to go home with just a point after being 2-1 up with minutes to go. I think it is a bit sloppy but you learn from stuff like that.”

Looking back on his 78th minute goal, he admitted he was lucky as he slipped at the wrong moment, but the goal game his side a boost in confidence and helped them to score their second goal of the night.

He said, “The ball came over and I slipped, actually, but then I saw it going in and it was a great feeling. I had all my family in the stand from Ireland and I ran off to them because that’s the first time they have seen me play over here.

“The manager had just told me to feel my way into the game, get a few touches and do what I normally do, so to get a goal was great. It got the crowd going and then we scored a second but unfortunately we couldn’t hold on for the win, but I think we’ll be fine.”

He went on, “I have already scored a couple of goals for the club and a feel I have got a goal or two in me, but as I said when I was in Portugal before my thigh injury, I just want to be back playing games and in the team.”

Deegan, who celebrated his 24th birthday the day after the 2-2 home draw with Blackpool, reflected on his lengthy recovery, first his stress fracture in his ankle and the later thigh strain.

He admitted, “I was feeling it early on in the pre-season and then I played against Leamington and I just pulled up. I didn’t think it was as bad as it was at first but it was just my luck that it was. But hopefully that is all behind me now.

“It has been hard but I stayed positive and worked hard to get back, and the manager has helped me by telling me not to let my head drop and it was great to be out there again because the fans gave me a really nice reception. I couldn’t have asked for a better start and now I want to build on that.

"It is going to take a while to blow the cobwebs away but I am a fit lad generally so I don’t think I need too much more fitness work. I just need match time and a good run in the team.”

Deegan then turned his attention to the next game when City travel to Barnsley where they have a very good record of not only winning, but of scoring as well. Last season's defeat was the first time City had lost to Barnsley in ages.

Deegan is looking forward to the game and hoping to be picked to start, although even a substitute appearance would be welcomed.

He said, “I haven’t been on an away trip for a while and it is just great to be in and around the lads again and involved on a match day. It is a good time for me to come back for the manager and team. He wants people to step up to the plate and that’s what I want to do.

“The youngsters have done a great job but the games have come thick and fast for them, but they’ll be all right. I definitely think we can pick things up.

"We just need a to get a little run going and keep the spirits up because it is a bit of a downer when you are 2-1 up and think you are going to win the game and then lose a late goal, which deflates everyone, but we will be back on it at Barnsley and looking forward to getting a result.”