Released Graham targets Northern Ireland friendly return and still hopes to remain a Spireite

Picture by Lawrence Smith/AHPIX.com. Football, Sky Bet League One; 
Charlton Athletic v Chesterfield FC; 29/10/2016 KO 1500;  
The Valley;
copyright picture;Howard Roe/AHPIX.com
Liam Graham of Chesterfield tackles Charlton�"s Ricky Holmes at today�"s league 1 match at The Valley
Picture by Lawrence Smith/AHPIX.com. Football, Sky Bet League One; Charlton Athletic v Chesterfield FC; 29/10/2016 KO 1500; The Valley; copyright picture;Howard Roe/AHPIX.com Liam Graham of Chesterfield tackles Charlton�"s Ricky Holmes at today�"s league 1 match at The Valley
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Liam Graham, on course for a return to action with the New Zealand international side this summer, still hopes to return to the Proact for next season.

The right-back was among the list of players who weren’t offered new contracts at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.

But there is still a chance for Graham to add to his six appearances as a Spireite.

A serious knee injury, sustained on international duty, and subsequent operation kept the 24-year-old out of action from November 2016.

But now he’s nearing a return and has his sights set on an international friendly in Belfast.

Speaking from New Zealand he shared his optimism at making a comeback for the All Whites at Windsor Park on 2nd June.

“The knee is very good,” he said.

“I will be six months post-surgery on 17th May and the way I’m going I will be fit for the Northern Ireland game.”

Graham has already represented his country four times since his October 2016 international debut, which came after just a quartet of senior appearances for Chesterfield.

He’s excited by the prospect of adding to his caps against Northern Ireland.

“It will be a pretty awesome experience,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

The friendly is a warm-up for the All Whites ahead of the Confederations Cup in Russia.

New Zealand will take on the host nation, Mexico and Portugal in the group stages.

If selected, Graham will miss the start of Chesterfield’s pre-season training but he still plans to try and win a new deal at the Proact.

And he admits he’s open to exploring other options.

“At the moment the manager (Gary Caldwell) wants me back in pre-season to see me train and play as he didn’t get the chance last season.

“I will also be looking into other options if something comes up.”