League One side Coventry City have completed the signing of former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane on a free transfer. Kilbane had previously played for Hull City, leaving at the end of the 2011-12 campaign after his contract expired.
At 35 years old, and with lengthy spells with both Everton and Sunderland in the Premier League under his belt, Kilbane provides the experience and know-how that may help Coventry return to the Championship at the first attempt following relegation last season. The Irishman’s versatility could also prove key – although predominantly a winger during his Everton days, Kilbane has also featured at left-back in recent years.
Indeed, Coventry boss Andy Thorn appeared to be delighted with the capture of Kilbane, capped 110 times by his country, telling the club’s official website: “This is another great signing for us. You only have to look at the clubs Kevin has played for and his record at international level to know his quality. He brings bags of experience to our squad and he will complement the younger players we have here and will help bring them on. Not only will he be an asset on the pitch, he will be a big player in the dressing room too so I am really pleased that we have acted quickly to bring him in.”
Since leaving Everton in 2006, Kilbane has enjoyed three-year spells at Wigan Athletic and Hull. He found first-team opportunities at the KC Stadium limited in 2010-11 – being loaned to both Huddersfield and Derby County – and failed to feature in a single league game last season. It will come as little surprise to Hull fans, then, that the club has chosen not to extend Kilbane’s deal – a decision that is likely to benefit both parties.
Looking to rebuild ahead of their first season in England’s third tier for 48 years, Coventry have looked to the Scottish Premier League for new recruits, signing John Fleck from Rangers and Stephen Elliot from Hearts. The new attackers join as part of the club’s bid to add some firepower to a Coventry side that scored just 41 times in 46 league games last season – the Championship’s lowest total.