Football/Soccer

Josh Magennis aiming to put Bolton troubles behind him with Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis has endured a tough time at financially troubled Bolton Wanderers.

JOSH Magennis has obvious concerns about his own immediate future – but he's also worried about what lies ahead for his Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

The latter continues to be linked with vacant club jobs, in Scotland and England, and Magennis admits: "I would be absolutely gutted if he left because he has worked wonders for me.

"But you have got to respect people if they feel they want to try something new – especially if there's a deal on the table that can't be turned down.

"He's well within his right to make that decision on his own because he's been absolutely amazing – not just for me, but players like me and more importantly for the country.

"The day he is does leave is going to be heart-breaking – but he might stay because he has a real legacy taking place.

"We just have to wait and see but as a selfish person I wouldn't want him to leave but if the opportunity arose that he could manage a team that he could take forward then I don't think you could blame him."

The Bangor man's own future is unclear due to the financial troubles at his club Bolton Wanderers which has led to "without a shadow of a doubt the hardest period of my career.

"I was making the jump to the Championship and you are expected to perform at the highest possible level, without any distractions.

"Most of us use football as a getaway – even when we were younger going to the park or just playing outside with our mates.

"Unfortunately the problems arose with us when we were at football. We were actually going home to get a break from it all – usually it is the other way around.

"It was tough, but the fans stuck by us, they paid their money and purchased season tickets – we just tried to be as professional as possible but there was only so much we could take without it filtering off the pitch.

"So many lads were dealing with so much stuff – people were getting affected financially, socially, emotionally and mentally. It was just all about the bank account, there was so much going on behind the scenes that it ended taking its effect. It's a real shame the season had to end the way it did."

Magennis scored a late winner in the second Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Belarus and hopes to play his part again in the return fixtures there and, first up, in Estonia on Saturday evening.

Performing on the international stage may just attract interest in his services. "I have one year left on my contract and the club is currently in administration so unless somebody comes in and buys me, or unless the club goes bust and I'm able to walk away from my contract as a free agent, I'm at the club until I'm told otherwise.

"With us being in administration, obviously we have the points deduction already for next season but the administrators are there to save money and make the debt as small as possible.

"So with me, there's a number of things that could happen - they could ask to me to take wage cut, they could ask me to walk away on a free (transfer) or wait until a new buyer comes in and see what happens".

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