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Waterford boss won't shackle the club's young guns, admits uncertainty over Ipswich starlet's future

Alan Reynolds saw his side earn an impressive 3-0 win over St Pat’s on Friday.

Alan Reynolds (file pic).
Alan Reynolds (file pic).
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

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The journey may not involve Europe this year, but Waterford manager Alan Reynolds is adamant that he is not going to try and shackle his young guns for the sake of his blood pressure.

He is content with facing into the unknown this season.

“I would probably like for us to control games a bit better but it’s probably not the way we will play this year,” he admitted after last night’s 3-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic.

“We have a lot of pace and power, and we had a purpose in the second half with that counter attack. You can see the pace when we get bodies forward. It’s something that we work on with the type of players we have, there are goals there.

“I’m not saying it’s a trap but it’s a signal to get bodies forward. That’s the way we set up, that’s the way we play, to try and get bodies forward.”

It worked a treat against the Saints at Richmond Park, second-half goals from Ismahil Akinade, Zac Elbouzedi and Aaron Drinan cutting the hosts to ribbons on a night when even the placid Harry Kenny felt the need to keep his players in the dressing room for some home truths.

Their woes are of little concern to Reynolds, instead he must focus on how best to extract the plentiful resources of talent from a group of naturally gifted footballers.

Central midfielder JJ Lunney is 21 and thriving in the centre with the steady hand of Shane Duggan guiding him in the right direction.

Elbouzedi, also 21 and part of the Republic of Ireland at that age group, is blessed with zeal on the wing and capable of being clinical when he finds himself through the middle.

If you look at Zac, and I look at Michael Duffy last week who plays and scores two [for Dundalk]. I’m going, Zac on his day, he’s not what Michael Duffy is just yet but he has the potential,” Reynolds feels.


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“What Duffy does is score goals, that’s what Zac has to get to. That’s what he’s working for and if he can add that to his game, let’s be honest too, he’s a wider player so he relies on service so if we’re not good enough to get it to him, that’s a problem, so then we’re telling him to go and get it and make it happen yourself. There is no point having him if he’s starved of possession, so he needs that freedom to go and get involved.”

And then there is Drinan, 21 on Monday and on loan from Ipswich Town, with the prospect of the other member of Stephen Kenny’s U21s being recalled by his parent club this summer now a possibility since they were relegated from the Championship.

“I don’t know. I looked at [manager] Paul Lambert’s interview [on Friday] and he’s saying there will be big changes. I’m sure he (Drinan) has ambitions to go back,” Reynolds accepted.

In the meantime, he will remain at the RSC and the aim for the next months is simple. “I spoke to him before the game about needing to work the goalkeeper, about needing to get chances. His link-up play has been good but he needs to come away thinking ‘I’ve had three or four efforts on goal’,” Reynolds added.

Some will go in, some won’t, that won’t faze him. He’ll keep going and he won’t listen to me. He’s a driven lad, you don’t need to be on his case, not at all. The same as Zac, JJ, Cory, they’re really driven.

“They don’t take any managing, what they need is confidence. It’s the same for any player, whether it’s Damien Delaney who’s 104, or whether it’s Zac, they need confidence and belief to go and play. We’ve had an up-and-down season so far so but, in fairness, they’ve stuck to it, so mentally they’re strong.

“Aaron’s attitude has always been good and he’s worked really hard. He has a smile on his face and he’s enjoying his football. I saw him over in Ipswich and it was tough for him, he was training with six or seven players in the reserves and that’s difficult for anybody to deal with. He’s happy but he will go back at some stage I’m sure.”

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to discuss all the week’s rugby news.:

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David Sneyd

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