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Top two is still the target for Fenlon


Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon

Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon

Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon

Pat Fenlon admits that it's not pleasant to be settling for second best.

But a second-place finish in the league this season is the target for the Hoops as they aim to achieve a place in Europe next season with their own hard work and not rely on favours, as happened last season.

Now 17 points adrift of league leaders and champions-elect Dundalk, Rovers have set their sights on second-placed Cork City, and Fenlon knows that a win at home to Bray Wanderers tonight - the first in a run of three successive home games - can aid their cause.

"We have lots to play for, we have to make sure we are in the top three but top two is the goal," Fenlon said ahead of the Bray clash.

"Fourth place got us into Europe last year, it might be good enough again this year but I don't want to leave it to chance.

"I feel we can still catch Cork for second place, that's our target for now," added Fenlon.

"We are seven points behind with six games to go, all the top teams have yet to play each other so points will be dropped along the way, we need to win our home games at least and get close to Cork. The race for the title is over but the chase for Europe could be interesting.

"I am never happy to finish second to anyone, but from our point of view, second this season would be an improvement on last year.

"At the start of the season we wanted to improve. We wanted to win an trophy and that didn't happen but we can still make sure that we finish this season in a better position that last year.

"With the money on offer, qualifying for Europe is vital so we have to put our focus on that. You can't say that getting Europe is bigger than winning the league, but financially, Europe is vital for a club like ours," added Fenlon, who admits to being bemused by reports in Scotland linking him to the job of Celtic U20 team boss.

Jim Gavin's side have brought joy to the capital in the last few days but, soccer-wise, the Dublin clubs have struggled of late as Rovers, St Pats and Bohs have all failed to win in their last four league matches.

"We just need to win, it's as simple as that," says Fenlon, his side beaten 1-0 away to Derry City last weekend.

"We played well enough up in Derry, we just didn't take our chances. If we had taken our we'd have won comfortably. The performance was good and if we can be more clinical tonight and in the next few games we can win a few, but I know Bray are very hard to beat."