Belfast Telegraph

Bluebird Feeney becomes a Swan

Fowler and Hasselbaink forced my move: Warren

By Paul Ferguson

Warren Feeney has taken one step back at club level to take two steps forward with Northern Ireland.

The former Luton Town striker, preparing to fly out to Riga with the Northern Ireland squad for Saturday's vital qualifying match against Latvia, has put his Cardiff City career on hold having agreed a four month loan deal with the Bluebirds' bitter south Wales rivals - Swansea City.

And it's all in an effort to secure first team football which could encourage Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington to start him alongside goalscoring record holder David Healy in the remaining European qualifiers.

Feeney, who only moved to the Welsh capital at the end of the last season from the Hatters, was involved in the majority of Cardiff's pre-season encounters scoring plenty of goals and looked set for a bright season with the Championship outfit.

But since the arrival of Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler and former Chelsea star Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink his first team opportunities have been limited and therefore he felt he had no option but to ask boss Dave Jones to go out on loan.

Feeney says: "I need to be playing games if I want to be considered for a starting place in the Northern Ireland team.

"I was left out of the last two Cardiff teams and with Robbie Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink there now I felt as though I wasn't going to be getting a look in.

"There is no reserve team at Cardiff so if I wasn't getting a game I'd just have to come in the next day for extra training.

"I want to play first team football and decided that I needed to tell the boss that.

"I asked to go out on loan, told him the reasons and it was only agreed late on Friday night, with about half an hour to go before the transfer window closed.

"I had actually travelled with the Cardiff squad to Norwich City as I wasn't sure if anything was going to happen.

"But I'm delighted to get the move ? Swansea are one of the top teams in League One and I'll hopefully be playing regularly which is what I want."

Feeney will meet up with his international team-mates today at a top London hotel before flying out to Riga tomorrow.

And once again he expects to be on the bench on Saturday night after Kyle Lafferty's goalscoring exploits against Liechtenstein in last month's 3-1 at Windsor Park.

Feeney adds: "I was devastated to miss out on starting with David against Liechtenstein after playing so well against Sweden.

"I don't expect to start this Saturday, I'd be surprised if Nigel Worthington didn't go with Kyle again.

"Obviously I'm dying to start but the most important thing is that we get the win and move onto Reykjavik with three points."

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