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Mannus excited by Euro campaign

St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus is dreaming of a place at Euro 2016 but fears he will be left on the bench if Northern Ireland do qualify.

Michael O'Neill's side's incredible start saw them take maximum points from their first three games before Romania claimed top spot in Group F with a 2-0 win last week.

With potentially three teams to go on to the finals in France, Mannus is still hopeful the men in green could book their spot.

However, with former Manchester United and Rangers stopper Roy Carroll the nation's current number one, the McDiarmid Park keeper admits he may have to accept a back-up role.

He told Press Association Sport: "The manager was saying after the games last month not to get carried away because there is still a long way to go.

"For us to even be challenging for a place at the Euros would be some achievement. But there is some level of expectation back home because of the start we have made.

"The closest we have come in recent times is finishing third about 10 years ago. But to actually qualify would be incredible.

"But I don't really know if I am close to taking the jersey back from Roy. I thought I was close to claiming the place towards the end of last season when I started a friendly in Cyprus.

"Roy was at Olympiacos at that point and was third choice, so the manager told me I was starting.

"But I couldn't make the two friendlies we had in South America after that during the summer and then Roy got himself a club with Notts County.

"He has been doing really well for both his club and Northern Ireland, so I think it would take him to do really badly for either me or Michael McGovern to get another chance.

"To be honest, I don't think I'm close to really getting that number one spot."

Sitting on the sidelines may have been a frustration for the 32-year-old but it did allow him to pick the brains of international team-mates Sammy Clingan and Josh Magennis about Saints' next opponents Ross County.

The Perth side host Jim McIntyre's Scottish Premiership basement boys on Saturday knowing that defeat would leave them just three points off the bottom.

Mannus said: "County are quite a different team now from when we played them at the start of the season. When I was away with the national squad a couple of the Kilmarnock lads where talking about them.

"They played them in their last match before leaving and lost 3-0 at home. The Killie boys admitted they were poor but said County were better than they had been previously.

"They have a new manager in and that can help. But to beat Killie 3-0 away was unbelievable. Any team in the league would be happy with that, so it shows how dangerous they can be now. We will need to be ready for them."


From Belfast Telegraph