Saturday 22 October 2016

Frustrated Kavanagh eyeing loan move out of Cottage

John Fallon

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Republic of Ireland's Sean Kavanagh
Republic of Ireland's Sean Kavanagh

After a mesmeric breakthrough season, Dubliner Sean Kavanagh has seen the crueller side of football this term at Fulham and is poised to secure a loan move to relieve the frustration

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The 21-year-old was a relative unknown this time last year but prospered to make 23 appearances for the Cottagers, his ascent earning a new long-term contract.

Whether the left-back sees out that deal running to 2018 is uncertain as he has found himself peripheral to the plans of manager Kit Symons and awaits his first action of the season.

It's not as though Fulham have a settled side and are riding high in the Championship. Saturday's victory over Reading was their first in four games, for now at least alleviating the pressure mounting on Symons.

Kavanagh had been one of the manager's success stories during a mixed first season.

Shortly after Symons was promoted from the academy to the senior post in September 2014 in succession to Felix Magath, he fast-tracked a player long admired since joining the club from famed Dublin schoolboy outfit Belvedere.

Opportunities were plentiful, with Kavanagh reciprocating through some excellent displays and a winning goal against a Norwich City side that went on to clinch promotion.

That debut season behind him, all appeared to point towards continued game-time for the Ringsend native this term until a recruitment spree by the under-fire boss.

Bolton's player of the year and left-back mainstay Tim Ream arrived at Craven Cottage, along with a number of rivals for the left-midfield berth Kavanagh also operated in.

He has not even got off the bench this season, prompting a couple of suitors to lodge their interest last month about taking the Irishman on loan.

"The manager wouldn't let me go last month because of a few suspensions and injuries to other players but I need to get some games," said Kavanagh.

"It's been disappointing not to get a minute of action. Especially after last season going so well with me playing so many games.

"I have to see what the manager's plans for me but it doesn't look like I'll be playing any time soon. He signed a couple of left-backs and that's the main reason for the change."

Despite his club difficulties, Kavanagh is shining this season at international level for Ireland's U-21s. Noel King has started him in all four of the side's UEFA qualifiers, a winning sequence only brought to an end in Italy a fortnight ago.

As well as the results enhancing Ireland's prospects of qualifying for a first-ever U-21 finals in 2017, the platform it supplies for Kavanagh to thrive during an era of scarce left-back options available to Martin O'Neill is invaluable.

"We were unlucky to lose 1-0 in Italy but I think once we beat Lithuania away in November, we'll go into next year's qualifiers against Serbia and Slovenia full of confidence," he said.

Irish Independent

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