Wednesday 17 July 2019

Stephen Bradley insists Shamrock Rovers can sell their players and stay strong

Shamrock Rovers’ Aaron Bolger signed for Cardiff City. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers’ Aaron Bolger signed for Cardiff City. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Chile’s Arturo Vidal collides with Peruvian ’keeper Pedro Gallese in his side’s 3-0 semi-final defeat which saw the title holders exit the Copa Ameria. Photo: Getty

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Stephen Bradley insists that Shamrock Rovers are able to strike a balance between selling players to foreign clubs and retaining a squad capable of challenging for honours.

The focus for the next two weeks is very much on the field of play, as the Hoops have a league game at home to Sligo Rovers tonight, followed by their Europa League tussles with Norwegian side SK Brann.

But the Tallaght club, who earlier this year completed the €500,000 sale of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu to Manchester City, are also active on the transfer market, with midfielder Aaron Bolger (19) this week securing his move to Cardiff City after a loan spell while boss Bradley says he expects interest in their Ireland U-17 cap James Furlong.

Titles

In their glory years of the 1980s, Rovers were able to bank large fees for the sale of players like Jim Beglin (Liverpool), Liam O'Brien (Manchester United), John Coady (Chelsea), Liam Buckley (Waregem) and Alan Campbell (Racing Santander) and carry on winning league titles.

The 2019 title could be beyond their reach, with champions Dundalk eight points ahead. Rovers winger Sean Kavanagh admits that his side need Dundalk to slip up at some stage over the second half of the season.

"They're a good side. That's all we can really hope for, we keep winning and hopefully they drop a few points. We have to play them up there as well. Hopefully we can go up there and win," says Kavanagh of Dundalk.

But Bradley feels that the model of selling players like Bolger - if and when an offer suits - will work out for his club.

"I think every team, no matter who you are, has to look at that side. It makes sense," says Bradley.

"If you plan for it, it shouldn't be an issue. Obviously the Aaron one, we knew it was coming for a long time now. We had a chat with Aaron, his mam and his dad and it was quite an easy one to look after.

"We're happy. We knew roughly where it would be when we agreed the loan and we are happy. Aaron did well for us. He played very young for us and progressed well. I think it's a good move for everyone.

"You always look at your squad six or seven months in advance. We always knew about Cardiff's interest in Aaron and something was coming down the line. We sat with Aaron and his family and we knew where they wanted to go with it, so we saw how we could make it work as well," added Bradley.

Due to the packed squad in place, Bolger may have struggled to get game time, as Rovers add new signings Gary O'Neill and Graham Cummins to the squad for the first time tonight for the visit of Sligo.

Rovers travel to Norway next week but Bradley says the focus is all on Sligo tonight. "We forget about that game [Brann] until after tonight," he says. "Considering we have a good turnaround, it doesn't come into consideration.

"The players are full-time professionals and it shows around a heavy schedule like this. They can recover properly. It's difficult but it's enjoyable. European games, big leagues. We're looking forward to it, it's a good month."

Irish Independent

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