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Kenny Browne: 'Waterford is my club, I always wanted to get back'

The Blues also announced the signing of former Ireland underage international Derek Daly today.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated at 19.15

KENNY BROWNE SAYS he is delighted to be back at Waterford FC for the coming season after his contentious split with Cork City.

His former boss John Caulfield declared Browne was on the move after City’s President’s Cup win against Dundalk, claiming the defender was making a “soap opera” exit and refusing to play for the club.

Browne has since denied those claims and today, after his move was officially confirmed, he explained the switch to the First Division side was largely fuelled by his desire to reduce his travelling hours and spend more time with his young family.

“Waterford is my club, it’s my third stint playing here so I always wanted to get back. If I’m being honest I probably thought I wouldn’t return until next year but it was always my intention to return at some point,” Browne, 30, said in a statement.

“The commitments of driving to Cork and being away from family forced my hand a little bit but at the same time I wanted to get back, I could see what was happening down here, I could see the calibre of players who have signed, it’s an exciting time to be involved.”

Browne also identified the recruitment drive at the Blues, which has been taking place under the stewardship of director of football Pat Fenlon and head coach Alan Reynolds, and the ambition of the club under new owner Lee Power, as being key factors behind his decision to begin a third term at Waterford.

“I definitely always wanted to come back but it had to be right for me as well, I wouldn’t come back if I thought we had no chance of winning the league. For me, I’m looking at the bigger picture here,” added Browne, ahead of the club’s season opener against Athlone Town on Friday night.

“It’s at least a three-year project in my eyes. I want to help my club return to where it belongs and compete at the top of the Premier Division.

“The first thing we need to do is get back in the Premier Division. I know it’s easier said than done but I think if we can get up this year, we can be competitive again in the top flight.

“There’s been a lot of talk done over the past few months in the media and down in Cork, it’s done now I just want to get playing and first things first, three points on Friday.

“That’s the way I’ll be taking it, game by game now and hopefully get ourselves off to a winning start to give us a boost and push on from there.”

Meanwhile, earlier today Waterford announced the signing of former Ireland underage international Derek Daly.

The 19-year-old winger joins the club from Chesterfield having signed his first professional contract with the League One club in May 2016.

Daly, who recently spent time on loan at Frickley Athletic, made just three appearances during his time at the Proact Stadium under Danny Wilson and current manager Gary Caldwell.

The Dubliner played his youth football with Cherry Orchard and represented Ireland at U16 level before securing a move across the water.

“I’m happy to be back in Ireland to sign for Waterford ahead of the league kicking off this weekend,” he said.

Hopefully this move will be a good opportunity for me to get some game time and show my ability which I feel I haven’t really had the chance to do the past few months.

“Waterford are a strong side with great aspirations of getting promoted so for me, to get that experience at 19 is an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I’m back home in Ireland to play football, work hard and pick up my first senior league title.”

Speaking on his latest signing, Fenlon described Daly’s arrival as a good bit of business for the club.

“Today is transfer deadline for the club so we are hopeful of completing a number of bits of business to make our squad as competitive as possible going into our opening league fixture with Athlone Town this Friday,” he said.

We are pleased to get Derek’s transfer from Chesterfield over the line. He’s an attacking threat and has the experience of playing across the water. We’re happy with the squad that we’re putting together and we should be able to complete another couple of deals before the close of play today.

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