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Euro spot is the aim 
- Fenlon

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Pat Fenlon. Picture: Brian Lawless/SPORTSFILE

Pat Fenlon. Picture: Brian Lawless/SPORTSFILE

Pat Fenlon. Picture: Brian Lawless/SPORTSFILE

THE NEWLY-INSTALLED Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon has set himself an immediate target of achieving European qualification for next season.

And the Hoops chief also insists that his side are not out of the 2014 title race despite having a 12-point gap between themselves and league leaders Dundalk.

Fenlon was unveiled to the media as Trevor Croly's successor in Tallaght this morning but once his media duties were done it was off to the training ground where the real work begins, ahead of tomorrow's clash with one of his former clubs as a manager, Derry City.

Rovers have already secured a place in one cup final, the EA Sports Cup, and remain in contention for their first FAI Cup triumph since 1987. A Cup win this season would get Rovers back into Europe for the first time and that is the main objective - for now.

"Getting into Europe, that's what I want to do," Fenlon told the Herald today.

"I have not come here to finish second or third, I want to win things and win leagues. We are a fair bit off the pace in the league but things in football can change in a very short space of time, so we have to make sure we win as many games as possible in the league before the end of the season.

"But Europe has to be a target, it's two years now that Rovers have been out of Europe and that has to change. Not being in Europe causes problems in terms of the budget, financially it's such a big help to be in Europe so we have to try.

"We are in a decent position to achieve that but I am not ruling out having a run at it in the league.

"We are twelve points off the league and that's a big gap to make up but I have seen things change in Europe very quickly," added Fenlon, aware that his Shelbourne side lost a similar lead in the 2000/01 season and saw their Dublin rivals Bohemians snatch the title away.

"It happened then and it could happen again," he says. "Once you get to this stage of the season it's edgy and winning games is hard, we need to go on a really good run but it could happen."

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Coming into a club mid-season is a new experience for Fenlon in Ireland - the only time he has done that before was at his last job, with Hibernians in Scotland - so he largely has to play with the hand he has been dealt, as the domestic transfer window has closed.

"We will work with what we have, we don't have loads of resources to go out and get players," he says. "The squad we have now is decent, it's a young squad with a lot of experienced players, long-term we will add to it but in the short-term I don't see many new players coming in," added Fenlon.

"I have always had a pre-season to work with a club, apart from Hibs when I went there in the middle of a relegation dog fight in November.

"The target then at Hibs was to avoid relegation and the target here is to get Rovers back into Europe here we are in a good position in the league.

"The previous manager here is gone, the club is in a decent position and we have to try and kick on and not worry about the past, all I want to do is win as many matches as we can before the end of the season.

Fenlon will also reshape the coaching staff at the club. Interim manager John Gill will remain on for this weekend but will then depart, as Fenlon hopes to bring in a No. 2 from outside the league.

"John has steadied the ship for the last few days and given me a dig out for tomorrow's game but I would like to bring in someone from outside the league, whether we can do that from a financial point of view is another thing," Fenlon added.


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