Sunday 22 January 2017

Fenn will handle Lilies backlash, says O'Neill

Published 13/09/2010 | 05:00

Neale Fenn is facing a hot reception
Neale Fenn is facing a hot reception

ALEX Ferguson was made to rue his decision to drop a controversial striker for a return to his former club but Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O'Neill has insisted he will not follow those footsteps by leaving out Neale Fenn on his return to Dundalk tonight.

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The Hoops return to Oriel Park, scene of their last defeat on May 3. Crowd trouble halted that game for 10 minutes, and new recruit Fenn can expect a heated reception from the home supporters.

The Lilywhites' faithful were enraged when Ian Foster allowed the former Bohemians striker to retire from football last month, only for Fenn to be snapped up by Rovers days later as a free agent. But the Hoops boss won't let any potential abuse affect his team selection.

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"I can't comment on how sore they are," O'Neill said. "As far as I am concerned, we are just focused on the game. I didn't sign him (Fenn) to leave him out of games. I signed him to play.

"Neale Fenn comes into contention to play in Dundalk. I wouldn't leave him out just because of the circumstances. It doesn't play a factor at all.

"He accepts he'll get criticism but at the end of the day I am sure he is old enough and experienced enough to deal with that. His team-mates will look after him.

"We look forward to the game but it will be tough. They are not having the best of times but typically when you go to these places, teams are always up for it and we'll have to deal with that."

Irish Independent

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