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NI boss Ian Baraclough has earned chance in Windsor hotseat: Fenlon

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Pat Fenlon will be cheering on the Republic

Pat Fenlon will be cheering on the Republic

Pat Fenlon will be cheering on the Republic

Linfield general manager Pat Fenlon hopes Ian Baraclough can keep the good times rolling in his new position with Northern Ireland - but his loyalties will lie elsewhere if there's an all-Ireland Euro 2020 play-off final against the Republic.

Baraclough's men will host the Republic of Ireland for a Euro 2020 spot at Windsor Park if both sides win their play-off semi-finals in October.

Northern Ireland travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina while the Republic are also away in their semi-final against Slovakia.

The 51-year-old Dubliner knows former Sligo Rovers chief Baraclough from his days chasing success in the League of Ireland.

"I think I came up against Ian a few times when I was at Shamrock Rovers and he's obviously proved himself to be a really decent manager," said Fenlon, who was appointed the Blues' first general manager back in 2018.

"He's got a hard job following Michael (O'Neill), but I'm sure he's aware of that and up for the challenge.

"He's very tactically aware and he has earned the job. I wish him good luck, unless he faces the Republic later this year (laughs).

"It's a shame both Irish sides can't qualify. Both sets of supporters were brilliant in France (at Euro 2016) but unfortunately for these Euros there's no room for both."

Hugely popular Fenlon won a league championship and two Irish Cups with Linfield.

Belfast Telegraph