Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe rise of the Sammon - Derby's in-form striker (video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The rise of the Sammon - Derby's in-form striker (video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The rise of the Sammon – Derby’s in-form striker (video)

Striker Conor Sammon finally looks set to make his full Republic of Ireland debut tonight after impressing this season in the Championship with Derby County.

At the age of 25, Sammon has had to wait some time to represent his country and perhaps has taken a longer and more obscure route into the international setup than many of his compatriots. The Irishman played part-time with University College Dublin in his homeland before making a move to fellow League of Ireland side Derry City.

Sammon made just a handful of appearances with Derry City before attracting the interest of Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock with whom he joined in the summer of 2008 after impressing during a trial spell. Sammon flattered to deceive in his first two seasons in Scotland, often quashed by the presence of fellow striker Kevin Kyle in the first team. However, in the 2010-11 season Sammon began to show real glimpses of quality in his play and had scored 18 goals for Kilmarnock before the end of January.

At 6 foot 2 inches, Sammon certainly poses an aerial threat but has built his reputation upon his quick feet and excellent first touch. These skills impressed Wigan boss Roberto Martinez in January of 2011 and prompted the Premier League outfit to pay a reported £600,000 to bring Sammon to the DW Stadium. Although Sammon flirted with the fringes of the first team and failed to hold down a regular first team place, he was a figure in Wigan’s great escape from relegation as the club retained their Premier League status in the last game of the season.

However, Sammon’s role in Wigan’s survival that year did not do enough to convince Martinez of his ability to hold down a regular place in the starting eleven. As such, Sammon was sold to Derby County last summer for £1.2 million and has impressed at Pride Park, scoring 7 goals in 37 games.

Whether Sammon has found his level in the Championship or he can rise once more to play in the Premier League remains to be seen, but a starting berth in the Republic of Ireland national team will certainly do his chances of progression no harm.