Former Shamrock Rovers striker Mikey Drennan is returning to the SSE Aitricity League Premier Division, signing for Sligo Rovers after a two-year absence from top-flight football.

Drennan played youth football at Aston Villa before signing for the Hoops, however, the striker quit the Dublin club as he battled depression.

However, the Kilkenny native continued to play non-league football and helped local side Evergreen to reach the final of the FAI Junior Cup in 2017.

And now Drennan believes that the time is right to return to the League of Ireland, waiting until he was 100 per cent sure that the time was right to sign for a Premier Division outfit.

"It has been with me for the last couple of years about returning to the league," said Drennan.

"It has come up a few times, but I wasn't 100% sure or ready to commit. I didn't want to disappoint anyone by not being able to give my all, or to waste anyone's time. I feel now I'm ready and this is a great fit for me.

"It's four months to take a fantastic chance to get back into league football and full-time football.

"I've had two years out of the professional game and I'm delighted to be able to return today. There were other clubs speaking to me and it was flattering to have that, but as soon as I came up here I was made feel really welcome by everyone and it was the club I wanted to sign for."

Drennan joins a Sligo side, struggling in eighth place in the table, and the striker is confident that he can bring goals to the side to help the Bit O’ Red push clear of relegation worries.

"Ger (Lyttle) was brilliant, I can see why people speak about his man-management," added Drennan.

"All of the players really welcomed me in too as soon as I walked through the door so you can tell it's a good dressing-room.

"I feel fit but I'll need a couple of weeks for sharpness and to get that bit extra fitness that comes with league matches.

"I've seen Sligo Rovers on Soccer Republic this season and they've been struggling for goals. I'd like to bring something to try to change that."

Speaking to RTE Sport in April, Drennan admitted that he was keen to return to football this season but decided against joining Bohemians as it would have most likely led to online abuse from Shamrock Rovers fans.

"I knew that if I signed with Bohs that I probably would have got abuse from some Shamrock Rovers fans. I’d probably be accused of being a traitor," said Drennan.

Sligo Rovers manager Lyttle has been impressed with Drennan since his arrival at the club and believes that the player and club should prove a perfect fit.

"I’ve been tracking him for a couple of weeks and there was interest from a couple of other clubs. We invited him up and he was able to play in the friendly last night. We made him the offer and it was signed this morning so I think that speaks volumes for both parties. 

"Our club is perfect for him. I have a lot of respect for how Mikey has conducted himself. When he left Shamrock Rovers, he could have easily stayed there and ignored things, but he didn’t. He tackled things head on, he was open, he was brave when being so open, and we’re really thrilled he has chosen us to make his return to the league. 

"I think it’s a great move for the club. Even in the game he played, albeit it was a low-key friendly, he showed the movement, the touches, that clear ability he possesses. He plays off a striker or as one and offers a big goal threat too."

For Drennan, the toughest part, perhaps, has been making the decision to return to the game and the national spotlight that goes with it, but now the striker is now ready to pull on the Rovers jersey – albeit a different Rovers – and pick up where he left off two years ago.

"It was a tough decision to go for it and return to football. After two years it was probably always going to be.

"But I feel I'm in a place to do it and I can't wait to put on the Sligo Rovers jersey, play in The Showgrounds and let's see what can come from it."