Jake O'Brien attracting interest of English clubs before transfer deadline day

The Corkman has impressed on loan at Belgian second division leaders RWD Molenbeek from Crystal Palace.
Jake O'Brien attracting interest of English clubs before transfer deadline day

LOAN STAR: Jake O'Brien of Republic of Ireland with his nephew, 3 month old Beau Summerton, after during the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off first leg match between Republic of Ireland and Israel at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Jake O’Brien's stellar form on loan at Belgian second division leaders RWD Molenbeek has attracted interest from a hive of English clubs, including Bristol City.

The Corkman was sent out abroad by Crystal Palace for the season with the intention of preparing him for the rigours of the English circuit but suitors believe the 21-year-old is ready for Championship level.

Bristol City, 17th in the table and through to the last-16 of the FA Cup, require defensive reinforcements and Nigel Pearson has his eye trained towards O’Brien ahead of Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

They are understood to face competition from League One outfits Portsmouth and Wycombe Wanderers if O’Brien was to decide on another project to complete the season with.

The towering defender from Youghal has made 18 appearances as part of a three-man defensive unit for Molenbeek and he grabbed his first goal for the club in Sunday’s 2-1 win over KSK Lierse Kempenzonen.

It is his second loan deal since he joined the English Premier League outfit from Cork City.

He enjoyed the invaluable experience of spending the second half of last season at League Two club Swindon Town, his 21 appearances culminating with a play-off semi-final defeat against Port Vale.

Meanwhile, another of Cork City’s emerging stars – defender John O’Donovan – could be off to Bolton Wanderers.

The reigning FAI Schools Player of the Year has been part of Colin Healy’s pre-season plans, featuring against Dundalk last Friday, but impressed Bolton’s hierarchy during a recent trial at the League One club. City are already facing the prospects of losing Franco Umeh to O’Brien’s club, Palace.

Elsewhere, Gavin Kilkenny looks to be heading to that stage, as Charlton Athletic are finalising a temporary move from Bournemouth. His temporary switch to Stoke City hasn’t worked out.

Also stepping down from the Championship is QPR striker Sinclair Armstrong. Mark Kennedy’s Lincoln City are keen but the lure of Sheffield Wednesday may be too tempting for the powerful forward who has made his mark during a turbulent season at Loftus Road.

On the women’s side, Ireland’s US-born striker Kyra Carusa is close to expanding the Irish presence at English Championship leaders London City Lionesses. She has been playing with Danish HB Köge in recent years, appearing in the Champions League, but the English terrain provides the springboard to consolidate her place on the plane to Australia for the Women’s World Cup in July.

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