Monday 22 October 2018

Championship clubs to step up interest in Shamrock Rovers hotshot Graham Burke

Graham Burke. Photo: Sportsfile
Graham Burke. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Nottingham Forest, Brentford and Blackburn are tracking new Irish international Graham Burke, with Shamrock Rovers expecting interest to step up in the coming weeks.

It's understood that the Hoops are yet to receive any bids for the 24-year-old but are aware clubs have monitored the striker closely since his call into Martin O'Neill's squad a fortnight ago.

Preston's special advisor Peter Ridsdale was at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday to watch the attacker with the club having previously dipped into the Irish market to sign Sean Maguire, Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Kevin O'Connor.

But they are just one of a posse of Championship clubs eyeing up the Dubliner who still has a year and a half left on his contract.

That strengthens Rovers' position as clubs will have to pay a proper transfer fee to recruit the ex-Aston Villa player.

Preston were able to make the running on Maguire as they were able to activate a €150,000 release clause in his deal, although Cork will also profit if the player is sold in the future.

Maguire was in the final year of his contract. Burke's position and elevated status after his pair of Irish appearances will allow them to invite bids closer to €250,000.

Forest have scouted the player and Brentford and Blackburn have now taken a further look at the Belvedere product.

He is due to return to Rovers duty this week and returns to playing action against Bray Wanderers in Tallaght Stadium on Saturday evening.

Future

Burke was asked about his future in the aftermath of his goalscoring first international start on Saturday and tried to play down any talk of a transfer.

"Every game there is probably people watching but I don't pay attention to that," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen.

"If something happens, I'll have to think about it, sit down and see what's right for me and everything. I'm not thinking about that, I'm a Rovers player, I think I have to work hard for Rovers and play for Rovers.

"Nothing changes, I still go about my day to day life the same way as I do. People say it's an unbelievable achievement, it doesn't change anything in my day to day life."

The Hoops gave Burke permission to miss Friday's 5-2 defeat to Dundalk so he could be selected by his country.

O'Neill thanked Rovers for doing that, especially as another disappointing result has placed further pressure on manager Stephen Bradley.

But Rovers had no intention of denying the player his big opportunity.

Speaking after the Dundalk reverse, Bradley said: "He has a chance to play for his country and I'll 100pc stick by that."

Irish Independent

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