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Fresh start

As part of Sky Sports' League One spotlight, Chris Burton catches up with Michael O'Connor following his release by Scunthorpe United.

League One Spotlight - League One Spotlight Posted 17th May 2012 view comments

This year, like any other, will see vast quantities of footballing talent drop into the free agent pool.

With long-term contracts in short supply away from the Premier League money pit, more and more players are spending their summers desperately searching for a new job.

With a limited number of employers looking to recruit, it is vital that their CV stands out from the crowd.

Michael O'Connor: Enjoyed his time with Scunthorpe but is now looking for a new club

Michael O'Connor: Enjoyed his time with Scunthorpe but is now looking for a new club

Among those hoping they will be among the first to get a bite is Michael O'Connor, a 24-year-old midfielder who finds himself without a club following his release by Scunthorpe United.

As an international footballer with plenty of Football League experience under his belt, it would be a surprise if he were to be available for long.

Sky Sports' Chris Burton recently caught up with O'Connor to discuss his hopes for the future and the three years he spent on the books at Glanford Park.

Asked how he was planning on tackling the summer and whether there had been any interest already, he said: "There has been a bit of interest, nothing concrete but there are quite a few clubs that are looking around. I'm going to go on holiday for a bit, come back in June time and then look to sort my future out."

Waiting

This is O'Connor's first taste of life as a free agent and while he admits that being without a club may offer up a number of interesting opportunities, he is not planning on holding out for too long.

He said: "You always like to have something sorted, you don't want to be waiting around until the last minute with nothing there. I'm some I will get something sorted and get it signed."

A product of the famed academy system at Crewe Alexandra, and a man with 10 Northern Ireland caps to his name, O'Connor hopes his CV will speak for itself.

He said: "You'd hope so. It wasn't the best of seasons last year, but the two previous seasons in the Championship I played quite a few games. Hopefully clubs will look at that and take a chance on me."

O'Connor's experiences in 2011/12 were not the best, as Scunthorpe struggled to get to grips with life back in League One following relegation into the third tier, but he says he will look back fondly on his time with the Iron.

He said: "The first two years in the Championship were very enjoyable. Playing under Nigel Adkins was very good. Last year wasn't what we wanted, because we were hoping to go back up to the Championship, but the three years I spent there were very good.

"What you see is what you get there. It's a good family club and it has proved over the years that they have brought on some good players."

While O'Connor enjoyed his time with Scunthorpe, he believes he made the right decision in looking to take on a new challenge this summer.

Challenge

He said: "They offered me a two-year contract last year, at the start of the season, but I didn't sign that. I thought it was time to take on a fresh challenge.

"I think I played over 100 games for Scunthorpe, which isn't bad. It's a new challenge for me now. I'm only 24 so I will look forward to the next challenge. My three years at Scunthorpe will help, they were great and taught me a lot as a player."

There was talk of interest from Scotland in January and O'Connor admits he is open to anything at this stage.

He said: "My agent is on the ball and trying to get something sorted for me. There are a lot of clubs up in Scotland who play good football. A lot of managers will be on breaks themselves at the moment, though, so I don't think anything will get sorted until June.

"If we have to move, we'll move. I would rather stay where I am now because we are happy here. I have got three kids who are settled, so we will see what happens."

It is vital that O'Connor makes the right call for himself and his family, with stability off the field required if he is to enjoy his football and force his way back into the Northern Ireland set-up.

He said: "I will try and get back into the international scene. I haven't played there for the last 18 months or so. A new club would hopefully give me a chance of getting back into that Northern Ireland team."

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