Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS.
Between the Stripes has exclusively learned that former Longford Town favorite Rhys Gorman is currently in training with Bray Wanderers. The “Seagulls”, who appointed Dave Mackey as manager a fortnight ago, have been playing catch-up in the transfer market following a prolonged search for Harry Kenny’s replacement and alleged board room power struggles. However, having announced a raft of additions and re-signings at Mackey’s first press conference, the County Wicklow side now have fourteen first-team players on the books at the Carlise Grounds.
Among those are former Longford winger Jake Kelly, who failed to impress in the First Division under Alan Matthews, Gary Cronin’s or Neale Fenn’s watch last season with the latter opting to release Kelly at the end of the 2017 season. One mans future that remains uncertain though is “De Town’s” 2014 league winning skipper Mark Salmon, who Bray are still keen on retaining for 2018 according to Between the Stripes sources close to the Premier Division outfit. The twenty-nine-year-old has made thirty-seven appearances for Wanderers since arriving from Longford in 2016 and would certainly bring experience and stability to what is a trimmed down Bray squad following the financial difficulties at the Seaside club last season.
It remains to be seen whether Gorman, who was also released by Longford after four-and-a-half years service, could yet prove to be a replacement for his former captain, although the former Shamrock Rovers youngster played most of his minutes with “De Town” as a centre-back alongside the legendary Pat Flynn. Having suffered an ankle injury reportedly playing tennis with his girlfriend in 2016, Gorman struggled for a return to fitness and ultimately game time that season as Longford went down in humiliating circumstances under the watch of unpopular manager Tony Cousins, although the clubs relegation was officially confirmed under the stewardship of his successor Alan Matthews. The arrival of possession orientated manager Neale Fenn led many to believe Gorman may return to a midfield role having started his Longford career there under Tony Cousins, who brought Gorman in as a replacement in July of 2013 following a season ending injury to none other than Mark Salmon in a season defining local derby defeat to eventual First Division winners Athlone Town, as Longford blew a twelve-point lead at the top. However, Gorman failed to impress the new Town boss and barely featured prior to his release in the off-season.
Eyes will be firmly set on the Bray Wanderers team-sheet as they take on First Division promotion hopefuls UCD in a pre-season friendly at home tonight. For updates on whether or not Gorman features be sure to follow our Twitter account @betweenstripes.