Sunday 18 August 2019

Fenlon to hold talks over Duff's future

Damien Duff with manager Pat Fenlon when he signed for Shamrock Rovers back in July
Damien Duff with manager Pat Fenlon when he signed for Shamrock Rovers back in July
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Pat Fenlon will sit down with Damien Duff this week to talk about his Shamrock Rovers future amid speculation about the high profile recruit's intentions.

Fenlon doesn't believe "there is any doubt" Duff, who is under contract for 2016, will play on next year although the club is aware of rumours to the contrary.

But the Rovers boss admitted the 36-year-old has struggled because he joined Rovers without the benefit of a pre-season and feels the veteran may have to look at his training schedule.

"I think we need to sit down and talk but that's what we said we'd do when he came in," said Fenlon. "I don't think there's any doubt at the moment unless he decides to do something else. We haven't really had that conversation.

"We spoke because he's obviously found it hard when he hasn't had a pre-season and that's difficult. And it's finding a balance for him as well at times. He wants to train all the time when maybe at his age he can't do that."

Fenlon will also speak with Stephen McPhail who is believed to be considering his options at this stage of his career. McPhail and Duff were the last two players to leave the pitch after acknowledging supporters at the end of the Hoops' 5-3 win over Drogheda on Friday.

"I'm being honest with you - I don't know," said Fenlon when asked if McPhail would be playing on. His contract is up and the Rovers boss says he must find out his kitty for 2016 before holding firm discussions.

"I don't know where I stand in relation to budgets," he said. "One or two we spoke to wouldn't make a huge difference. It's just the higher profile ones - we need to sit them down over the next few weeks and have a conversation."

Fenlon will be letting players go, which is the reality at this time of the year. He doesn't envisage sweeping changes in the dressing room, but his real frustration is the length of the off-season which he describes as "madness".

"I can't get my head around it," he continued. "I saw a First Division manager saying he had a player suspended for the last two games and it meant he wouldn't play for five months. That's absolutely crazy.


"You can't have that long off. It's crazy, but nobody seems to care about it. For off-season programmes, it's very difficult. You're bringing players in at times when they're not being paid. People will think I'm moaning but it has to be looked at - if we're going to be serious about being a professional league and a proper league then let's be serious."

The shorter season is preferred by clubs who want to cut costs by offering 38-40 week contracts as opposed to paying the year round. But Fenlon feels it's harming businesses.

"Nobody sees a game for four and a half months," he said. "How do you promote that? How do people get interested in that? It's hard with sponsors.

"I'm in the league for I don't know how long and nobody has had a conversation with us about it and asked how we can address it. Can we extend contracts longer so maybe players are on the same money but it's spread out? There has to be some way of doing it. It doesn't make sense to me."

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