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Treacy and Clifford in limbo after clubs wield axe

TEAM-MATES with Ireland under Giovanni Trapattoni less than four years ago, Irish duo Keith Treacy and Conor Clifford are today battling to save their careers after they were released by their clubs.

Treacy, 26, won his fifth and last senior cap in a 0-0 draw at home to Croatia in August 2011 while the then Chelsea man Clifford was an unused sub for that game - but both are now hunting for new clubs.

League One side Barnsley confirmed that Dubliner Treacy was leaving "by mutual consent". He only joined the Tykes last summer on a two-year deal but he now leaves Oakwell. He first caught the eye playing for Blackburn Rovers, making his debut in October 2007, and made 12 Premier League appearances for the Ewood Park club.

But moves to Preston, Burnley and then Barnsley saw the winger drop down the divisions, and he now faces an uncertain future.

So does Clifford, 23, who is on his way out of League Two side Southend United. The Dubliner joined Southend in 2013 following a long spell as a trainee with Chelsea which saw him have spells on loan to five lower league clubs.

He is under contract until the end of the season but United boss Phil Brown has included him in a list of five players who can leave now.

"We have had various meetings looking at our squad and what is required to obtain promotion this season," said Brown.

"We feel the need to bring in some players to help us achieve that goal in terms of goal threat and also additional experience.

"The changes, which are in progress now, will limit the opportunities for these players and I decided it was best to let them try and find a club now to help them progress their careers by going somewhere and playing, rather than wait until the summer, when significant numbers of players become free agents.

"They have all been first class in their attitude but with the changes we are making it only seemed right to let them go and find first team football elsewhere."

Clifford made 41 appearances for the club last season but has struggled this term and his last start under Brown was back in October.

Trapattoni called the uncapped Clifford into his squad four times, most recently for the November 2012 friendly against Greece in Dublin.