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Saga has damaged game says Shels boss

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Shelbourne’s Ian Morris

Shelbourne’s Ian Morris

SPORTSFILE

Shelbourne’s Ian Morris

Shelbourne boss Ian Morris fears that the saga over the restart of the League of Ireland season has been damaging to the game.

But he admits he will experience a sense of relief to see his side back on the field of play tonight for the first time in three months, the Reds taking on Longford Town in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

The Shels camp have used the break in the season to keep their squad ticking over, one new addition on the way as Ireland youth cap Brian McManus should complete his move from Preston once his paperwork has cleared.

Morris is happy to have the midfielder on board, after the break in the season and the energy-sapping saga.

"I'm relieved we have a date at last," says Morris.

"It has been damaging to the league, it has made us look incompetent, like we're not a professional league and that has a massive knock-on effect when you are trying to get sponsors in the door, trying to get revenue into the club.

"Every time you look in the papers or on social media there's more negativity, one bad point after another, and I just hope this week's announcement is the end of it.

"It will be even more difficult to attract new people to games, get new sponsors involved, if we don't get back playing. We were lucky to sell out Tolka Park for our first two games of the season before the pandemic happened, and that was great for us as a club and good for the league to see a full house.

"But if we can't get our own house in order in the league we can't get new people interested, get people to take that leap of faith and get on board with the league, so the knock-on effect of the last few months has been massive. I just want to get back playing," added Morris.

"We play Longford in the AUL today so it will be good to get onto the field again. This is week three for us being back and to have a game at the end of it is fantastic.

"It's about getting minutes into the players' legs. We've not played for 15 weeks and we need to get back into the routine of playing .

"We have brought in Brian McManus for the last few weeks and we're just looking to get that over the line. Brian can play at full back or midfield and he will be a real addition to the squad, he's a real talent."