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Saturday 10 December 2016

Fenlon lined up by power-ful blues

Pat Fenlon, pictured here during his time as Shamrock Rovers manager, is poised to take over as Waterford United manager. Pic: Sportsfile
Pat Fenlon, pictured here during his time as Shamrock Rovers manager, is poised to take over as Waterford United manager. Pic: Sportsfile

Pat Fenlon is poised for a return to football with a new-look Waterford United side who have been taken over by former Ireland U21 cap Lee Power.

And Fenlon's former club, Shamrock Rovers, are also likely to make a move on their managerial position with confirmation expected of Stephen Bradley's appointment as long term boss, Bradley clear to take charge now that he has been accepted onto the FAI's Pro-Licence coaching course.

Waterford have just completed one of their worst seasons in recent times as they finished in the bottom half of Division One also also suffered financial hardship during the season, the club forced to make an appeal for financial backing just two months into the new season.

But having survived that issue, the club hope to be in better shape now as a takeover has been completed, former Ireland underage cap Power at the helm.

Controversy

Power has created controversy in his role as chairman and owner of Swindon Town but he has pledged to work hard to make the Blues a force again.

New Blues owner Lee Power.
New Blues owner Lee Power.

"I am delighted to be involved with a club of such great potential and one which has a wonderful footballing history," says former Norwich star Power, whose grandfather was from Waterford.

"I hope the supporters and the business community will get behind what is a new beginning for Waterford United.

"I see this as a very exciting, long-term project. The facilities at the RSC, as well as those at the WIT Sports Arena are top class."

Power, 44, has taken control of first team affairs at Swindon while also acting as chairman but he's not keen to manage Waterford and has already held talks with Fenlon.

Fenlon's role, as manager or head of football, has yet to be decided and the Dubliner has not committed to Waterford but this could offer him a return to coaching, five months after he left Shamrock Rovers.

Waterford, whose last major trophy success was in 1980, have spent the last 10 seasons in the First Division but the new backers have been tempted by the success of Dundalk - who only narrowly avoided relegation in 2012 - and feel they can make United a force again.

Bradley has been in charge at the Hoops on a caretaker basis since Fenlon's exit but due to FAI rules on coaching qualifications, he had to stand aside after 60 days and Sami Ristila came in.

But the FAI confirmed that Bradley was one of 16 coaches accepted onto their Pro-Licence course, with ex-international Keith Andrews.

Rovers, who earlier this month hired Stephen McPhail as Sporting Director, are now expected to proceed with the appointment of Bradley as boss.

Dundalk, who return to Europa League action at home to AZ Alkmaar next week, are also in the news for off-field reasons as the club have moved closer to an agreement with the previous owner over the lease on Oriel Park.

Dundalk have been unable to plan for badly-needed development work on the Oriel site as Gerry Matthews, the previous chairman, retained ownership of a part of the land at Oriel, but talks have gone well.

"Dundalk Football Club can confirm that progress has been made with resolving all of our long-standing issues relating to the lease of Oriel Park. However, until all arrangements are complete, we are not in a position to give a full and detailed statement on this matter," the club said.

Hours before that, a copy of a statement which claimed to have reached agreement with Matthews and the current owners of the club was released online but then retracted.

Caretaker

Dundalk, unable to play their home European games at Oriel Park, are aware of the need for a complete redevlopment of the ground and clearing up the ownership issue would give them a chance to plan for building work.

The Dundalk squad returned to training yesterday after a short break and Stephen Kenny takes his side to London tomorrow to play Championship side Brentford in a training match.

One player on his way out of the league is Sligo Rovers' import Achille Campion.

The forward was a big hit at the Showgrounds after his arrival in mid-season but he has decided to move on for family reasons.

Bray Wanderers, who have in the last week re-signed five members of the 2016 squad, are keen to build on a positive finish to the season and they are expected to make a move for Shamrock Rovers man Gary McCabe.

The longest-serving player at Rovers, McCabe is set to leave Tallaght Stadium and his former club Bray are keen.

Wanderers are also hoping to sign St Patrick's Athletic duo Chris Fagan and Conan Byrne.

And Cork City are close to a deal for impressive Wexford Youths defender Lee Grace.

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