Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Coleraine and Newry eye Lomas and Fenlon

Ambition abounds in the Irish League.



No sooner had Coleraine and Newry City dispensed with respective bosses David Platt and Gerry Flynn yesterday, than both clubs were thinking big in terms of their replacements today.

The name in the frame at Coleraine is a former player they helped groom for fame — 37-year-old ex-West Ham and Northern Ireland international midfielder Steve Lomas.

Newry, meanwhile, with new-found finance in place, are casting audacious glances south at one of the most successful League of Ireland bosses of recent times — none other than former Linfield folk hero Pat Fenlon.

The 42-year-old has five league titles to his name, three with Shelbourne and two with current club Bohemians, on top of a massive medal haul as a player.

Fenlon also bossed Derry City, and with Bohs currently facing financial difficulties, Newry, with their worries behind them, may feel the time is right for the Dubliner to be tempted north for a third time.

Coleraine already have an affinity with Lomas, their local boy made good. He launched his career at the Showgrounds, aged just 16, under Jim Platt's management, recovering from a broken leg in an Irish Cup semi-final to earn a move to Manchester City and then on to West Ham.

The 46-times capped Northern Ireland star is currently English-based and working as a TV football analyst, including Sky's coverage of the Carling Premiership, and has always stated his desire to have a crack at management here.

Now he could be in line to replace another Platt, his former boss Jim's nephew David, who was dismissed last night.

The Bannsiders board took the decision after seeing the team record just four wins in their last 11 league games — a record which sees them currently sitting third from bottom of the Carling Premiership.

The club announced: “Following a meeting of the Coleraine FC Board of Directors this evening, David Platt has been relieved of his duties as Coleraine manager with immediate effect.”

Platt had been preparing his team for tonight's Carling Premier game against Distillery when the axe fell.

Angry fans booed the team off the pitch after Tuesday night’s de

feat at the hands of Dungannon Swifts — their second loss to Dixie Robinson’s side in the space of four days — and that is likely to have played a part in the board’s decision to sack the manager.

Platt had been in charge of the Bannsiders since being installed as Marty Quinn’s successor in the summer of 2008 and survived a run of six straight league defeats in the opening half a dozen matches of the season.

Just a week ago Platt managed to convince striker Leon Knight to stay at the club, signing a new 18-month contract.

Former striker Robert Casey is holding the fort at Newry and today admitted that he faces a ‘mammoth task’ in trying to steer the club away from the foot of the Premiership table.

He faces Crusaders tomorrow, saying: “I’m in the job for as long as required and it’s a strong possibility that I’ll be here until the end of the season.”

“We’re second from bottom, six points away from the nearest team, and I can’t sign anyone because the transfer window has closed. It’s a mammoth task and the first thing is to lift confidence.”

e JOHN Gregg has resigned from his position as manager of Championship side Institute, who lie third from bottom of the table.

Gregg’s assistant Allan Blair, a former Stute player, has taken over with his first game being against Ballinamallard tomorrow.

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