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Premier League clubs to rival Celtic in race to sign Shamrock Rovers defender Liam Scales

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Liam Scales

Liam Scales

Liam Scales

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley says there is Premier League interest to rival Celtic in their pursuit for defender Liam Scales.

But the Rovers boss expects Scales to be available for both legs of their crucial Europa League Conference clash with Albanian side Teuta Dorres.

Celtic are the clear front runners to sign the versatile defender and have been in discussions with Rovers about a deal. However, Bradley confirmed this morning that it isn't a one horse race.

"I know there is a lot of interest and there has been for quite some time, but right now Liam is fully focused on tomorrow (first leg v Teuta in Tallaght) and going forward until Stephen McPhail (sporting director) and the board tell me otherwise that's the way it will be. But there is a lot of serious interest from the English Premier League and Scotland.

"There has been bids put down. We've had a number of managers ring myself and Stephen regarding Liam and watched him on a weekly basis," continued Bradley, when pressed on the Premier League angle. "That has been there as well as Celtic and others. There is a lot of interest."

Bradley said the club were prepared for a scenario where they received an offer for Scales was too good to turn down but he admitted that his natural preference is to delay in the short term with the European matches carrying such importance.

Rovers are one tie away from a €3m playoff to reach the Conference League group stages. That said, the fact Scales is under contract until the end of 2022 means they are in a position to look for a significant six figure fee for his services and there have been suggestions they could receive close to €500,000.

"You have to weigh up every option and avenue and work our what's best for the club first of all," said Bradley.

"It's very important that you're open and honest with the player and his representatives and make the best decision for all. But you weigh up everything - how important these games are, the league in the next month or two. Like we have done in the past with so many

"To be fair, Liam has been brilliant - even last year signing a new deal when there was interest there.

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"We've never had any issue and he's really calm and takes things in his stride and thinks about things. He makes clear decisions and has good people around him. With Liam, it's pretty straightforward and there's no managing and he's pretty level headed and has had a good grounding at UCD.

“I think the credit has to go to the club. We’ve slowly but surely built that up in terms of players, where they’ve gone and the club have trusted us in terms of contract that was put on the table. That doesn’t say that this is the norm going forward. But the board have trusted our judgement in signing players on longer deals and then it means you can take a stance when teams come in."

Bradley said he expected Scales to travel to Albania next week but if he does leave before the end of the window, Sean Kavanagh will step forward as a left wing back option. Rovers do have other players that can slot in there but Neil Farrugia is still working his way back from injury. The Irish transfer window is closed so signing a player from another club is a non-runner - they could technically bring in a free agent.

"I fully expect Liam to be with us next week," he said, "I speak to Stephen daily and I'm well clued in on where it is and who is interested and the timeline on it.

"When we recruited in the off season, you have to look at some of your players potentially moving. We understand that and we recruit for that. Pico (Roberto Lopes), has the African Nations, World Cup qualifiers you recruit and make sure you’re strong in them areas. Neil (Farrugia) is probably four or five weeks away, Seán Kavanagh is back playing so, if it happens, we’re okay."


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