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Friday 9 December 2016

Millwall boss: David Forde free to leave for sake of international career

David Forde
David Forde

RELEGATED Millwall have said they will not stand in the way of David Forde if the Ireland keeper seeks a move away to keep his international hopes alive.

Forde has two years left on his contract with the Lions but, following their demotion fro the Championship at the end of last season, the player is doomed to a season in the third tier unless he can secure an exit.

The Galway man has lost his place as Ireland's No. 1 to Shay Given, and it was a blow that Forde did not get any game time in the two recent internationals, as Keiren Westwood was picked to start against England.

And there will be more intense competition for goalkeeping slots next season, following Darren Randolph's move up to the Premier League as he joined West Ham from Birmingham City earlier this month.

Millwall do not want to sell Forde but boss Neil Harris understands that the Galway native may have to leave.

"He has aspirations to be Ireland's number one, and rightly so, he's a top goalkeeper," says Harris.

"Any player who has an opportunity to play at the highest level, for their country or in the Premier League or the Championship, and can get that opportunity, we wouldn't begrudge him that.

"The player's situation is pretty clear: if he is to move on to enhance his international credentials, we are quite happy with that.

"On the flip side, however, if he doesn't and he stays, we get to keep a top goalkeeper. Nothing is happening at the moment. It's a pretty relaxed situation for all of us."

Last week, Forde was linked with a move to Fulham while Championship rivals Derby County have also been mentioned.

Meanwhile, Fulham have confirmed that Ireland Under-19 cap Noe Baba has been released.

And another Irish teenager was axed as Manchester United included Donegal lad Ryan McConnell in a lots of five young players who are no longer required.

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