Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Former Hibernian chief Pat Fenlon open to taking over as new Linfield boss

Good to talk: Pat Fenlon has said he is 'open to offers' as Linfield begin the search for a new manager

PAT Fenlon has indicated that he would be willing to speak to Linfield about becoming David Jeffrey's successor.

The Dubliner was installed as the early favourite for the post after Jeffrey said he was stepping down from the role at the end of the season. Former Shelbourne, Derry City and Bohemians manager Fenlon resigned as Hibernian boss in November but has admitted he misses the cut and thrust of football management.

St Johnstone manager and former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Tommy Wright has ruled himself out of the race to succeed Jeffrey but Fenlon said: "I am open to offers. I am a manager and I want to work in that [sphere], wherever that will take me."

The Linfield fans' favourite says he hasn't spoken to the club about the vacancy – yet.

"I haven't spoken to anyone at Linfield. I was a player there and I am not working so I suppose that all adds up," added the 44-year-old.

Fenlon enjoyed two trophy-laden years at the Blues after his arrival in 1994 and the former midfielder has underlined again his fondness for the Windsor Park side.

"I have said before that it was the best club I played for, the best times I had as a player and it's a great football club," he said.

"I am out of work at the moment so anything that comes up I will look at. It's a proper football club. When I was playing there it was really enjoyable, it felt like real professional football at the time and it's no different now. I was back up there not too long ago for Michael Gault's testimonial and it's still the same."

Fenlon will travel to Middlesbrough next week to watch their boss Aitor Karanka on the training ground as he continues a tour of clubs with a view to broadening his education. His preference would be a role across the water but he retains an affection for Linfield and a deal is possible.

"I had a few offers to go out foreign but that's not where I want to be at the moment, maybe further down the road," added Fenlon.

"There are one or two other things happening that I want to look at and I am due to go to England next week to have a look at training at a couple of clubs, just from a coaching point of view to see what's going on and we will see what happens in the mean time.

"Football is like that, it changes from day to day. It's that type of a business where the phone doesn't ring and then all of a sudden it starts to ring."

Fenlon, who won five League of Ireland titles as a manager, admitted he was disappointed to see his friend Jeffrey call time on his incredible reign at Windsor.

"I spoke to David Jeffrey last week and I had no idea that he was going to go," he added. "I am disappointed for Davy as I did keep in touch with him and his record there is phenomenal.

"Anyone going in there has a difficult job to follow."

* There have been a number of fixture alterations after the wet weather played havoc with the Irish League schedule.

The Ballinamallard United v Glenavon Irish Cup sixth round fixture which was abandoned after 32 minutes on Monday night will now kick off at 3pm on Saturday, March 1. A replay, if required, is scheduled for the following Tuesday. Glentoran's sixth round clash at home to Armagh City, which failed to go ahead on Monday night, will also be played on March 1 at 3pm.

The quarter-final battles – Crusaders v Ballyclare Comrades, Ballymena United v Dungannon Swifts and Queen's University v Bangor will also go ahead on March 1 (all 3pm). Any replays will be played on Monday, March 10 (7.45pm). The last eight game involving Armagh City or Glentoran against Ballinamallard United or Glenavon will take place on Monday, March 10 (7.45pm).

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