Tuesday 28 February 2017

Hoops put faith in Bradley as search begins for new players

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Stephen Bradley is caretaker coach at Rovers
Stephen Bradley is caretaker coach at Rovers

Shamrock Rovers will not be making an announcement on the identity of their new manager until after the end of the League of Ireland season.

But it's understood that leading candidate Stephen Bradley has already started to speak to potential recruits about coming on board for 2017. The stand-in coach took the reins after Pat Fenlon exited in July.

However, he doesn't have a UEFA Pro Licence, an issue which prevented him from formally staying in charge until the end of the campaign. Sami Ristila was drafted onto the staff for the final weeks of the campaign to meet licensing requirements.

Bradley (31) has applied for the next Pro Licence, a course which starts in December. The other complication he faced is his role as scout with Arsenal, which he would realistically have to give up to take full control in Tallaght.

Message

Tonight's match programme for the game with Bray Wanderers features a message from Bradley to supporters.

But Rovers officials have denied that the Dubliner is about to be confirmed as their next boss and it is likely to be a couple of weeks before their full plans for next term - and the designation of roles - become clear.

Bradley has been a big part of the planning process as Rovers have already actively started looking into strengthening their squad. It's also expected that Damien Duff will be a part of the first-team coaching ticket.

Significantly, it's believed that Rovers are planning to start offering 52-week contracts, which would mean paying their players through the winter, a development that could give them the edge on recruitment.

Dundalk winger Darren Meenan is just one of the players on Rovers' radar. Rovers are five points clear of fifth-placed Sligo Rovers with two games to go, so a win against Bray would secure a Europa League place.

Irish Independent

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