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Hoops keeper Mannus happy to be away from Scottish long ball game

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Shamrock Rovers keeper Alan Mannus wants a return to winning ways against Dundalk tonight

Shamrock Rovers keeper Alan Mannus wants a return to winning ways against Dundalk tonight

SPORTSFILE

Shamrock Rovers keeper Alan Mannus wants a return to winning ways against Dundalk tonight

Scottish football has the financial muscle to lure the top players, and managers, across the Irish sea from the League of Ireland, with former LOI stars like Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and David McMillan all playing their trade there.

But Shamrock Rovers keeper Alan Mannus, who has played in both the SPL and the LOI, says he's pleased to be away from the long ball game in Scotland

Mannus had seven years at St Johnstone in between his spells at Rovers, and while he admits the Old Firm are way ahead of the bigger clubs here, he's points to a finer style of football in Ireland.

"The league there overall is higher than here, I don't think there is any argument over that but the bottom and top teams are very different there," says the former Northern Ireland international.

"Celtic could be paying players £20,000 a week and St Mirren at the bottom are, at most, paying between £500 and £800, you can see the wage difference is different to what it would be in this league so you can't compare teams in this league to Celtic and Rangers.

"But if you compare the top teams here to the bottom teams in Scotland it would be similar.

"I feel there is a different style of play, throughout the league here there is quite an emphasis on teams trying to pass the ball and play the ball out from goal kicks, the defenders taking the ball to start off.

"It was like like that here before I left but in Scotland it's more direct, with goal kicks it's more direct, very long, they want you to pretty much it it as long as you can. "It is more physical in Scotland, players are bigger and stronger and fitter and here there is more emphasis on passing the ball, trying to play, building things up from the back and trying to create opportunities rather than teams over there being more about turning teams, hitting it into the channel," he added.

Winter football in the SPL is a factor but also an excuse: "There are plenty of games where the weather is good enough to try and play and it's just not as much emphasis as there is here, it's more physical."

Now settled at Rovers, where he won two league medals in his first spell, Mannus is keen to add more success this time around, Rovers fourth in the table ahead of tonight's game at home to Dundalk.

Games between Rovers and Dundalk have been tense in the last few years, largely due to the Louth club's success in terms of trophies won by their then manager Stephen Kenny, Dundalk fans eager to point out that the Hoops have not won a trophy since they sacked Kenny in 2012.

Boss Bradley admits that his side's record against Dundalk is better away from home than in Tallaght but he's ready for battle tonight.

"It's a big game," says Bradley. "I still believe that Dundalk are the team to beat this year. We will find out where we are tonight when we play them.

"I believe we are ready. I believe our three performances so far have shown we are ready. This will be our toughest test, no doubt. It's one we are looking forward to."


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