HE MAY HAVE kicked off the season in a high profile Champions League playoff against Schalke at the Veltins Arena, but Liam Lawrence could soon be returning to the Championship with Barnsley.
The midfielder, 32, who won 15 caps for Ireland and scored two goals, has been training with Danny Wilson’s strugglers with a view to earning a contract after his Greek side PAOK Salonika told him he’s surplus to requirements.
After an impressive first season in Greece where Lawrence scored four goals and contributed ten assists, this season has been a frustrating one for the former Stoke City man.
Largely out of favour under new manager Huub Stevens, he spent two lengthy spells out of action with a recurring calf injury. A raft of new signings during the summer has only served to push the Retford born midfielder down the pecking order and injuries meant he could do nothing to change his predicament.
Lawrence did start one high profile match however, the first leg of PAOK’s Champions League playoff with Schalke before he calf complaint first occurred. Since then, he has started just once for the club, in a cup tie against lower league opposition.
With Barnsley currently sitting bottom of the Championship on goal difference, Wilson will hope to be able to bring in Lawrence, who has plenty of second tier experience with Cardiff City, Portsmouth, Stoke City and Sunderland.
Swapping the top of the Greek Super League for the bottom of the English Championship will have one benefit however, with Lawrence set to return home to his family who have stayed living in Stoke-on-Trent throughout his 18 months on the continent.
For Ireland, Lawrence was a key member of Giovanni Trapattoni’s side that fell to France in the World Cup playoffs in 2009, starting both legs of that tie before falling out of favour in the following campaign.