Oldham Athletic manager Richie Wellens has spoken favourably of his new signing, Dundalk star Patrick McEleney.
The news was confirmed on Friday that McEleney had signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the League One side, who currently sit in 18th place.
Wellens, a former Oldham player himself, only took full control of the side in mid-October following a five-match unbeaten run as caretaker manager. The 37-year-old had taken over from former Ireland midfielder John Sheridan, who left the club at the end of September.
Speaking following the announcement of McEleney’s arrival at Boundary Park, Wellens told the club’s official site:
“He’s two footed, he can go either way and he can dribble past players and I think we’ve lacked a bit of that. We’ve got really good footballers who get in pockets of space and Patrick will give us a different dimension.
“He can go past players, he can score goals and he’s got good delivery as well. He’s a player that I’m looking forward to working with and he’s the type of character you want in the building.”
The Derry native is no stranger to English football either. Having played for Foyle Harps as a youngster, he moved to Sunderland aged 16; linking up with the likes of Jordan Henderson, John Egan and Conor Hourihane. However, McEleney didn’t settle at the Stadium of Light.
A return home to Derry City saw his prodigious talent blossom. Initially under the tutelage of Stephen Kenny, his innate dexterity grew and he became a stalwart at the Brandywell. Kenny would eventually bring him to Dundalk to form part of the an evolving attacking axis for his three in a row title-winning side.
McEleney played a significant part in Dundalk’s sojourn into European football in 2016. Not only did he play a role in capturing the imagination as part of the collective, his adroit movement, balance and technique, coupled with some picturesque goals, caught the attention of many. Oldham weren’t the only side interested in McEleney’s services.
Inventive and technical, Wellens will hope that McEleney’s efficiency and slight of foot will help inject life into a campaign that sees his side four points from the relegation zone and off the back of two straight defeats against Plymouth Argyle and Fleetwood Town respectively.