Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Bannan upbeat after O'Neill exit

Barry Bannan
Barry Bannan

Barry Bannan is looking on the exit of Martin O'Neill as the opportunity to kick-start his Aston Villa career after fearing for his future under the departed manager.

The Scotland Under-21 international was set to rejoin Blackpool on loan this week before O'Neill resigned as manager. Bannan had only made two appearances under O'Neill, both in the UEFA Cup, but he feels more optimistic about getting his chance under caretaker manager Kevin McDonald.

"It will be a fresh start for everyone at the club," said Bannan, who came off the bench in the play-off final against Cardiff in the last match of his six-month loan at Blackpool.

He continued: "It's good in a way that everybody will start afresh. Hopefully I can work hard and force my way in.

"I was stalling, I didn't think I was going to get my chance with that gaffer. Now he has gone and the reserve manager is in, I'm thinking positively. I get on really well with the reserve manager.

"He is going to take the next couple of games and hopefully when the new manager comes in I can impress him. Kevin had tried to tell the gaffer to give me a chance but he's his own man and he's shrewd. But it's Kevin's team now and he knows my game inside-out so I think I will have a better chance."

Bannan added: "I was going to go to Blackpool before the gaffer left. On Monday there was talk about me going but when the gaffer left it went to pot, which is not bad because I can be there to show the new manager what I can do.

"Blackpool came back in and he (McDonald) said no until the end of this month. It's looking good at the minute because I don't think he would keep me from going to another Premier League club if I wasn't going to feature in his plans."

Bannan has not ruled out returning to Blackpool should his first-team chance at Villa Park fail to materialise after the surprise exit of O'Neill.

"I was shocked in a way but now, looking back at pre-season games, he wasn't hands-on," the 20-year-old added. "He was sitting back and barely getting out of his seat to say anything to the players. He wasn't the Martin O'Neill we knew but we never thought he would walk out."

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