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Stevenage confirm capture of experienced defender

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Stevenage have bolstered their defensive ranks with the signing of full-back Luke O’Neill from National League North side Kettering Town, the club confirmed via their website on Monday.

The 30-year-old O’Neill’s most recent spell in the Football League was with AFC Wimbledon between 2019-2021, in which he racked up just shy of 60 appearances for The Dons.

However, the former England U17 international had been without a club since his release from Wimbledon last summer, with National League North side Kettering Town being his home since last November.

The Leicester City academy graduate brings a wealth of valuable Football League experience with him to the Lamex Stadium, as he as amassed over 300 appearances across all three tiers of the EFL, with almost 200 of those coming in Sky Bet League One with Southend United, Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon respectively.

O’Neill also spent three years with then Sky Bet Championship side Burnley between 2012-2015, yet aside from a late cameo as a substitute in a Sky Bet Championship game, he would only make one start with The Clarets in a League Cup match against Plymouth Argyle in 2012. During his three years under contract with The Clarets, he spent time on loan with York City, Southend United, Scunthorpe United and Leyton Orient respectively.

Stevenage will become O’Neill’s 12th club that he has played for, and has become Boro manager Paul Tisdale’s second new addition of the January transfer window after the loan signing of goalkeeper Christy Pym from Sky Bet Championship side Peterborough United was officially confirmed on Monday.

Stevenage have not disclosed the transfer fee paid to Kettering Town or the length of O’Neill’s contract. O’Neill will be available to make his Stevenage debut in Saturday’s home game against Walsall.

The Verdict:

With 36 goals conceded in 23 Sky Bet League Two games this season – the third most in the division – it was clear that bolstering up his defence was always going to be a high priority in January for Stevenage boss Paul Tisdale.

And in Luke O’Neill they may just have made a very shrewd addition, as the 30-year-old is as experienced as they come in the lower leagues of the EFL, and at 30-years-old, will still have enough tread on the tires to provide Tisdale with a quality option to add to his squad.

With O’Neill being prepared to drop into non-league football after a just over a two-year spell in Sky Bet League One, that speaks volumes of his attitude and character, attributes that Tisdale will certainly be looking for in any potential signing this month with his side in the midst of a relegation tussle to stay in the football league.

It may not be a signing that gets Boro fans out of their seats, and O’Neill likely won’t provide much relief for Stevenage’s goal-scoring problem that is currently providing the unwanted label of being the lowest scoring side in the division with just 16 goals, but Paul Tisdale will have targets in mind to fix that problem. What O’Neill may well prove to be is that experienced figure at the back that can certainly help to stabilise and tighten up a leaky Boro defence.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Stevenage confirm capture of experienced defender

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