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McAree appeals for play-off game to proceed

Published 05/05/2009

Dungannon Swifts veteran Rodney McAree is adamant he will be taking to the field tonight against Donegal Celtic despite the play-off first leg being thrown into doubt.

Celtic have issued an appeal to the IFA, due to arrive at Windsor Avenue this morning, on the basis that Dungannon, as the bottom place side in the JJB Premiership should be automatically relegated.

However McAree has revealed that the IFA confirmed to them last week that they would be in a play-off, even if they finished in bottom place.

"The club rang the IFA last week to get verification where we stood and were told there would definitely be a play-off, regardless of if we finished bottom or second bottom," he explains.

"What more can you go on, when you have been given verification from the IFA?

"From a player's perspective it would be very disappointing if the game had to be postponed.

"We're at the end of a long, hard season and we would hate to see the games drag on until the summer.

"As far as the club are concerned though there will be a play-off this week and I've no doubt it will take place."

Had the Swifts taken at least a point from Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to Institute they would have secured 11th place and with Bangor finishing bottom, there would have been no room for appeal by Donegal Celtic.

However McAree is adamant the Swifts did the right thing by affording some game time to squad players ahead of the play-off double header this week.

"I certainly thought our management team did the right thing on Saturday, because they took the opportunity to look at a few players on the fringe of the team and gave debuts to some players," he added.

"Obviously we believed there would be a game to play on Tuesday night and the team was picked accordingly.

"Had we been told that we needed to finish second bottom then we probably would have played a stronger team on Saturday, but when you get confirmation from the IFA then you believe that is good enough."

Hoops chairman Raymond Bonnar said his club was right to appeal.

“We are going to appeal the decision by the IFA — they have breached the rules,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Swifts have appointed Dixie Robinson on a permanent basis just under two months after he took on the role on a caretaker basis.

Robinson, who was partnered by Joe McAree in his stand-in role, will now be assisted by current players Darren Murphy and Rodney McAree.

Belfast Telegraph

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