Sligo Rovers can confirm the signing of Hearts’ Alistair Roy on loan until 30 June subject to international clearance.
Roy, who can feature on the wing or up front, made his debut at a 17-year-old for the Scottish Premiership side and has had three loans spells as part of his development, with the club rewarding the 20-year-old’s progress last summer with a new two-year contract.
He played 25 matches this season at Scottish Championship side Dumbarton, having already impressed with Stenhousmuir and East Sterlingshire in the previous two campaigns.
He now joins Sligo Rovers for a period that will be seem him eligible to play 23 of the 36-game league season, and adds to the options on the wing for Gerard Lyttle with Adam Wixted, Caolan McAleer and Lewis Morrison already vying to start in similar roles.
Lyttle said: “I’ve been tracking Ally for a month now. He made a really good start his career, getting in the first team early on, and as is the way in Scotland, he has been sent on loan up the levels to gain experience which he has responded really well to.
“We now have a player who has just played a lot of game in the Championship in the last few months, a good level, and you can see by the investment made in him by Hearts with the new deal in the summer what their plans are for him. From speaking to their staff, they rate him highly.
“He can play on the wing or up front, he’s pacey, can score and when he runs at players it makes him very hard to defend against.
“I think he’s a fine addition to our group and now we have competition in that area. That’s absolutely vital for me because we didn’t have it in a lot of positions last season.
“I don’t want any player to think that they just have to do a minimum to get their place. There is more work being done to add to the squad with the plan to it being the case in other positions and we hope to have news over the next few days on that.
“Ally is coming here to play games and further himself with a view to possibly getting in that Hearts squad next season, a really big club in Scotland. It’s good business for us and we’re thankful to Hearts as well for making it happen.”
Roy said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t want to sit on the bench, I want to be playing games, and that’s why I was happy to come to Sligo because there is a great chance to get more experience and impress people.
“I did well at Dumbarton which was another level up and I want to do well here and help Sligo have a good season. I’ve spoken to people about the club in the last few days and they say it’s a great club.
“I’ve played most of my career as a striker but I’ve been converted to the wing recently. I play either or to be honest. The first game is just a week away and I want to be involved from the start so I’m looking forward to Saturday week already.”
Roy will make his debut on Saturday against Cabinteely in The Showgrounds in the final pre-season friendly.