Saturday 10 December 2016

Futures of Irish stars hinge on 'Survival Sunday'

Published 21/05/2011 | 05:00

THE Premier League relegation battle has been so unpredictable this year that the only real certainty was that it would go down to the wire.

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There are a variety of permutations across four games and, for once, the trademark Sky hyperbole will be justified.

It is 'Survival Sunday' and, for those clubs and players involved, the outcome of tomorrow afternoon will have serious repercussions.

There are a number of Irishmen who face a nervous 90 minutes. Here, we look at their prospects in the worst-case scenario.

Blackburn

Position: 15th

Fixture: Wolves (A)

Keith Andrews

2010/11 League Appearances: 5 (3 as sub)

If They Go Down: Andrews has endured a troubled campaign through injuries and you sense that, whatever happens, there will be upheaval at Ewood Park over the summer. He's still under contract, but could be packing his bags if they are relegated.

Wolves

Position: 16th

Fixture: Blackburn (H)

Stephen Ward

2010/11 League Appearances: 33 (7 as sub)

If They Go Down: Ward has endeared himself to Mick McCarthy with his versatility and considering he's quite happy at Molineux and the club would have a good chance of bouncing back, then you'd imagine he will be staying at Wolves regardless.

Kevin Doyle

2010/11 League Appearances: 26 (1 as sub)

If They Go Down: Then Doyle will certainly move on. In fact, there's a chance he will be on the move this summer anyway. But another drop to the Championship is out of the question. His sale could end up softening part of the financial blow if the midlanders go down.

Stephen Hunt

2010/11 League Appearances: 19 (6 as sub)

If They Go Down: The last thing that Hunt probably needs right now is another move, especially considering that he was keen to move to the English midlands and set up home for a while.

Earns £35,000 a week, so Wolves would have to decide if they want to maintain that kind of salary in the Championship. Out of loyalty to McCarthy -- who bought him when he was injured -- Hunt could well stick around.

Kevin Foley

2010/11 League Appearances: 32 (3 as sub)

If They Go Down: Foley is a safe pair of hands and has tasted promotion before, so Wolves would probably see him as the ideal player to keep around the club. Likely that he would stay and see if they can make the immediate leap back.

Birmingham

Position: 17th

Fixture: Spurs (A)

Stephen Carr

2010/11 League Appearances: 37 (0 as sub)

If They Go Down: Hard to see Carr moving elsewhere. Birmingham rekindled his love for the game and he's tied down to St Andrew's. Time is ticking, though, so it could be bye-bye to the Premier League forever if they succumb.

Keith Fahey

2010/11 League Appearances: 23 (5 as sub)

If They Go Down: Tough one. Fahey is a quality player, yet he probably spends too much time as a sub or as a compromise wide option. Could gamble on dropping down a level to get an extended run in preferred central role, with the aim of establishing himself there for a promotion tilt.

Blackpool

Position: 18th

Fixture: Man Utd (A)

Andy Reid

2010/11 League Appearances: 5 (3 as sub)

If They Go Down: Is only committed to Blackpool until end of season and has hardly had an opportunity to make a real impact. Was brought there in January in the event of Charlie Adam leaving. Adam will go, but has Reid fluffed his chance to be the successor wherever Ian Holloway's men end up?

Wigan

Position: 19th

Fixture: Stoke (A)

James McCarthy

2010/11 League Appearances: 23 (0 as sub)

If They Go Down: Then McCarthy will move on. The 20-year-old is a loyal type who stuck around Hamilton for longer than many anticipated. However, he will have to take a more clinical approach if the Latics suffer relegation heartbreak.

Conor Sammon

2010/11 League Appearances: 6 (6 as sub)

If They Go Down: In truth, it wouldn't be a disaster for Sammon. A temporary drop down could arguably work to his long-term benefit.

Irish Independent

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