Wednesday 23 May 2018

'We are looking if we can legally terminate his contract' - Anthony Stokes faces sack for week-long no-show

 

Anthony Stokes training for Ireland
Anthony Stokes training for Ireland
Anthony Stokes. Photo: Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell​

Anthony Stokes is facing the sack from Greek club Apollon Smyrni after going AWOL for a week and failing to offer an explanation.

The 29-year-old has played four games for the struggling club since making the move in January.

It emerged last week that he had missed training on consecutive days and that period of absence has extended into a week.

Apollon are now exploring ways to terminate the Dubliner's contract due to his indiscipline.

"The player is in clear breach of his contract," read a statement from Apollon yesterday. "He has failed to even contact us during the period he has not turned up for training. As a consequence of this, we are looking if we can legally terminate his contract."

Stokes started the season with Hibernian but he was shown the door by manager Neil Lennon after his off-field behaviour at a winter break.

Supportive

Lennon had been supportive of Stokes after previously working with him at Celtic and involving him in high-profile Champions League encounters.

However, he ran out of patience with the striker who now faces a big challenge to get his career back on track following a string of disappointments.

He has fallen completely out of favour with the Ireland set-up and his stagnation is one of the reasons that Martin O'Neill is short of striking options in his age bracket.

Jon Walters has confirmed his decision to stay on for the Euro 2020 campaign and says one of the main reasons is that he still feels he is good enough to play a part.

"I'm not saying there isn't players coming through but I think I can help," said the Burnley striker, speaking on Off The Ball's Keith Andrews Show.

"I believe in myself and I can definitely do a job. I want to play as much as I can and help the boys that are coming through."

Walters admitted that he might have departed the stage after this summer's World Cup if Ireland had succeeded in qualifying for the tournament.

The 34-year-old was unable to contribute in the final games of the aborted attempt to make Russia due to the knee problem that has ruined his season.

O'Neill invited him to provide support around October's game with Wales and the play-off matches with Denmark and he was there to witness at first hand the highs and lows.

"To go to the Denmark one and get a 0-0 away, I thought, 'Brilliant, bring them home'. It just didn't happen," he said. "To have such a low like that when you're not playing, I couldn't have left it like that."

Meanwhile, the Polish authorities have announced that their friendly against Ireland in September will take place in Wroclaw. The match is pencilled in for Tuesday, September 11 - five days after the UEFA Nations League opener in Wales.

Irish Independent

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