Sunday 22 April 2018

Shamrock Rovers coy on Damien Duff link as focus remains on Europe

Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon
Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Pat Fenlon remained coy when asked about the potential signing of Damien Duff yesterday but the Shamrock Rovers manager refused to rule it out.

Duff has been strongly linked with a move to Tallaght and is expected to sign with Rovers in the coming days but Fenlon was keen to keep the focus on this evening's Europa League qualifier second leg against Progrès Niederkorn.

Fenlon had previously cited budgetary restrictions as a stumbling block to signing Duff but should Rovers get into the next round of Europe, they are set to pocket €410,000 which, it is believed, may contribute to the transfer.

"I don't have any money to spend, that's for certain," Fenlon stressed.

"So if anything happens then well and good but I don't have any money to spend on a player unless we get through and then maybe that might change.

"I said at the time that anyone would be interested in a player of that calibre. I think any quality player coming into any league or club would help. We need a lift. With the negative publicity around at the moment, we need another lift.

"European results would be more of a lift than signing any individual player. Making progress in Europe seems to be the only thing that excites people in this country.

"That would get people to watch games and obviously raise the standard outside of the country as well. I think in Europe the prize money is a massive incentive for teams to do well.

"If you look at what you get for getting there and if you get through a round it doubles. So it's huge money for a League of Ireland club no matter what way people look at it," he added.

Rovers were held to a goalless draw in the searing heat in Luxembourg last week but Fenlon is confident that his team will be better prepared tonight, despite missing a couple of key players.

Keith Fahey (knee and hip) and Stephen McPhail (hamstring) are both set for up to a month on the sidelines but in more positive news, Conor Kenna and Ryan Brennan have trained with the squad.

"I think we've got a lot more on them now and the players will be a lot more used to them," Fenlon explained.

"You are trying to give players information from DVDs but it's easier after you go up against a player. Definitely the game itself has given us a little bit of an edge."

Fenlon's vast experience in Europe both as a player and a manager may not equate to that of his players but he is adamant that they can use that in their favour as they look to progress.

"When I was playing, when you're younger like that, it doesn't really sink into you, the difference in the games, the different level of the games," he said.

"When you're a little bit older if you haven't got that experience it can be difficult but they are good lads and they have that little bit of experience having played away and they know what they are going up against.

"They know they are capable of beating them but they also know they are capable of causing us problems."

Irish Independent

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