Pat Fenlon looks for stability as hotshot Miele signs new deal
Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon feels that continuity in the dressing-room is essential if the club is going to be a force again, and has moved to address that issue by agreeing a new contract with rising star Brandon Miele.
The ex-Newcastle trainee suffered in England with injuries and came back home to follow in the footsteps of Keith Fahey and Richie Towell by lining out for Bluebell United to build his confidence and fitness before signing a deal with the Hoops.
Miele (21) has scored 11 goals this season, including a late winner in Tuesday's win over Bray, and Fenlon says that keeping hold of young players with his quality is necessary.
"We've got two or three of the younger players we're looking to tie down and Brandon is the first one we've got done," said Fenlon.
"He's been very good this season, he's improved, so we want to hold onto our better younger players.
"It (continuity) is very important. Especially at a club like this where there have been a lot of changes. We do have a good blend of youth and experience but I think the time has stopped for chopping and changing.
"You look at the teams we play every week and you think 'he's played for Rovers, he's played for Rovers, he's played for Rovers.' We want to stop that and try and build something as a group.
"At the end of every season players leave and come in but I don't think there's going to be a huge change around. We don't have loads of money either to throw at it so it's important we try and bring a few through."
Miele is enjoying life in Dublin 24 and thinks the Hoops can step up to seriously challenge for the title in 2016.
"We've a lot of good players, a lot of talent, but we need a little bit more desire and drive," he said.
Fenlon wants the out-of-contract members of his squad to prove they deserve a deal by finishing this season on a high. Third-placed Rovers still have work to do to book a European place, with Galway visiting this evening.
The Tribesmen are immersed in the battle at the bottom and striker Enda Curran is anxious to put the disappointment of last Saturday's EA Sports Cup defeat to St Patrick's Athletic behind him.
"We've got another six cup finals to go so we've got to pick ourselves up and go again," he stressed. "We've seen other teams picking results against the bigger clubs and that's what we have to do."
Meanwhile, a Dundalk employee can push his hometown club closer to the title if he gives Cork City some problems at Turner's Cross, but young attacker Ciaran O'Connor says his priority is helping loan club Derry City steer clear of relegation.
Second-placed Cork are 11 points behind Dundalk with a game in hand and if they drop points tonight then Stephen Kenny's side will travel to Limerick tomorrow knowing that a win will give them the opportunity to claim the title in Tallaght on October 9.
"Firstly, I have to concentrate on keeping Derry up - that's why I came here," says O'Connor, who has scored twice in five games since moving north. "I can do Dundalk a favour as well.
"I am contracted to Dundalk next season. He (Kenny) has said that I'm part of his plans and he sees me making a big impact next season.
"Whether he sticks to that or not I don't know. I just have to concentrate on what I'm doing at the minute and that's putting the ball in the net for Derry City."