Former Sunderland striker O'Donovan joins Mariners

Former Sunderland striker Roy O’Donovan has joined the Central Coast Mariners on a two-year deal.

The Irishman, 29, spent most of his career in the United Kingdom before a successful stint at Brunei DPMM and a spell at Mitra Kukar in Asia.

O’Donovan was with Sunderland in the Premier League in 2007-08, having impressed at Cork City, before stints in Scotland and England’s lower leagues.

The former Blackpool and Dundee United man said the A-League was always a destination he wanted to be at.

“I’m very excited and looking forward to playing in the A-League and representing the Central Coast Mariners, I was up there last week and it’s a beautiful place and looks like a terrific place to play football,” O’Donovan said in a statement.

“It [the A-League] is a well-respected league and it’s a league that I’ve always felt that I wanted to be a part of and I’m now very proud to say that I am a Central Coast Mariners player.

“Playing with Sunderland has been one of the highlights of my career. Roy Keane was an idol of mine growing up and it was terrific to play under him and to play at that level of football was an incredible learning curve for me.

“I’m hungry to do well at the Central Coast Mariners. I consider myself a number nine, I like to play off the shoulder of the last defender and being a nuisance to central defenders and hopefully a goalscorer.”

O’Donovan, who scored 15 goals in 24 games for S.League club DPMM FC, will join the Mariners in early July for pre-season.

Mariners coach Tony Walmsley said he was expecting plenty of goals from his new signing.

“Roy comes with outstanding references from top managers in the UK including Roy Keane,” he said.

“He is a very humble and genuine character who will fit our community club profile,” he said.

“To have a striker join the Mariners with an identified work ethic who is also a proven goal scorer with natural pace and speed of thought is very exciting. The type of striker Roy is, will give our attacking midfielders room to operate with his good forward runs.

“With our ability to get service in from both flanks and our creativity in midfield I’m expecting a high return from Roy this season.”