O’Brien targeting regular football after Pompey exit

Liam O'Brien. Picture: Joe Pepler
Liam O'Brien. Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Pigott celebrates Southend's winner against Pompey in League Two. Picture: Joe Pepler

Southend’s sterling record in November ahead of Pompey clash

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Liam O’Brien has set his sights on regular first-team football after opting to walk away from Fratton Park.

The out-of-contract goalkeeper yesterday joined Coventry City on a two-year deal.

I couldn’t wait around forever – and there was an opportunity to go to Coventry and get into the team and play games

Liam O’Brien

Paul Cook had told the 25-year-old he wanted him to remain with the Blues, yet no contract was ever tabled.

Instead of waiting over the summer, O’Brien decided to settle his future early, agreeing a switch to the Sky Blues.

David Forde was ever-present in goal for the League Two title-winning campaign, restricting O’Brien to three Checkatrade Trophy outings.

Now the former Pompey Academy graduate is eyeing pushing for a spot in Coventry’s starting line-up.

He said: ‘I spoke to Cookie and he said he wanted to sort a deal out but nothing was actually put on the table.

‘There was nothing for me to take back to the family to have a look at and decide what was best for me.

‘I was told something would be offered but the phone call never came.

‘I’ve been in that position a few times. The season has finished, I’ve a holiday planned but don’t know where I’m going to be when I get back.

‘I couldn’t wait around forever – and there was an opportunity to go to Coventry and get into the team and play games.

‘Living in Gosport, Portsmouth is ideal for me and a club close to my heart but it just feels right to move on.

‘Without playing games this year and then stepping up to the next level, I could see myself being in the same position again.

‘I’d had a season, played some reserve games, played some cup games but this happens in football.

‘It’s time to go somewhere else and make a name for myself.’

Following his arrival on an initial month-to-month deal in August, O’Brien was an unused substitute in 45 of Pompey’s 46 league fixtures.

Although, he was granted outings in the Checkatrade Trophy.

The keeper was also a regular in the reserves’ Premier League Cup campaign which reached the semi-final stage.

And O’Brien enjoyed his second Fratton Park spell having initially been released in October 2010.

He added: ‘When I left the first time I never thought I would get the opportunity to come back.

‘It ended up being a great year and one I will always remember.

‘It’s just a shame I cannot be there for longer but things change.

‘I’ve got a young daughter and a baby on the way, so stability is a massive thing.

‘A longer-term deal at Coventry means we can settle in the area and try to kick on.’

– NEIL ALLEN