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Ex-Aston Villa man Burke bolsters Hoops' striking department

Shamrock Rovers have also announced the arrival of former Charlton Athletic youngster Sam Bone, who battled cancer in the past year.

Burke (left) and Bone (right) with head coach Stephen Bradley.
Burke (left) and Bone (right) with head coach Stephen Bradley.
Image: Twitter/ShamrockRovers

SHAMROCK ROVERS HAVE added to their striking options with the acquisition of Graham Burke.

The 23-year-old has signed with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division club ahead of the start of the 2017 campaign, which sees the Hoops travel to Oriel Park to face champions Dundalk next Friday night, 24 March.

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley has been busy in the transfer market but remained keen to add another centre forward to help out Gary Shaw, Sean Boyd, Aaron Dobbs and new signing Michael O’Connor.

Dubliner Burke played schoolboy football with Belvedere before Aston Villa as a teenager. He won the NexGen Series in 2013 with fellow Irish players Samir Carruthers and Mikey Drennan, and finished top scorer in the youth competition.

Despite making his first team debut against Tranmere Rovers in 2012, Burke found opportunities hard to come by and went on loan to Notts County before joining permanently in 2015.

He made 52 appearances for the Magpies in total, scoring five goals, but hasn’t feature prominently since the depature of manager Ricardo Moniz with only two starts in League Two this season.

“Graham is a great one to have, his ability as a player is second to none,” Bradley told ShamrockRovers.ie. “He’s up there with the best, speaking to him you can tell he’s very mature. I’ve watched him the last few years, he’s a very exciting talent and I am delighted to get him in.”

He just needs to work on his fitness, he’s a little behind but that was to be expected after not playing for a while. He’s raring to get going now, he has played European football with Aston Villa and spent some time with Notts County, so he’s coming in with a good deal of experience.

“He can play anywhere in the forward attacking role, he’s creative and different to what we already have here. He can create something out of nothing, he’s a really special player. He can play anywhere and is very comfortable on the ball too. Graham is a very impressive player and I know he will impress the fans at Tallaght Stadium.”

Here’s a goal he scored for Notts County against his former club Villa in the Capital One Cup in August 2015.

Source: FootyNowHD/YouTube

Meanwhile, former Charlton Athletic midfielder has also arrived.

The 19-year-old was born in Malaysia as his father was a professional footballer over there but left as a five-year-old and grew up in England.

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Having got the all-clear after a recent battle with cancer, Bone impressed during a trial period with the Hoops and is delighted to sign.

“Signing for Rovers is something I’ve wanted a lot since I got the chance to try out with the team in the past three weeks,” Bone said.

“I originally came in to build up my fitness and my agent said the club were interested in signing me. I knew from week one that I wanted to sign here, so I’m absolutely thrilled to sign for the club.

“The fans have been excellent with their support to me on Twitter, they were as delighted as I was. They have been great to me especially with the cancer and everything, so I really do want to thank them for being there and want to impress them this season.”

I’m ready for the start of the campaign next season, I’m not sure if I’ll be involved or not as of yet but I’m raring to get going now.”

Bradley added: “I am delighted to get Sam in, he’s been in with us the past while and played a few games in which he impressed me and the coaching team.

“It’s great for us and him, he’s only 19 too so it means he can play for the U19s as well as featuring in the senior side. He’ll be one of those players who will be massively important to us in the next few months.”

“He’s an open and honest lad who plays and sees the game well. He really fits in with the squad which is great to see because he’s been out with the illness for the past while. It is great for everyone involved to have Sam here.”

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