Ryan Manning rewarded by QPR with new contract
Conor Hourihane and Robbie Brady edging towards transfer window moves
Ryan Manning has been given a new two and a half year contract by Queens Park Rangers. Photograph: Getty Images.
Former Galway United midfielder Ryan Manning has signed a new two and a half year deal at QPR just a few months after having been told that he was to be released by the English Championship club in the summer.
The 20-year-old, had been playing regularly with the under-23s during Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s time in charge but had been told that he had no future there beyond the end of his initial two and a half year deal.
The player’s fortunes have since been transformed under new manger Ian Holloway who handed him his senior debut on New Year’s Eve against Wolves – he was only given a squad number just before the game – and starts in the two league games since against Ipswich and Reading. All three games have been won.
His performances have highlighted his potential and Holloway has been quick to reward him with a new deal that keeps him at the club until the summer of 2019.
“It’s been an unbelievable couple of weeks for me,” the young Irishman told the club’s website. “When I went back home for Christmas for a couple of days I had no idea this would happen. It’s been a whirlwind to be honest, but I’ve enjoyed every minute and, now the contract is sorted, I’m really hoping I can kick on.”
Ryan Sweeney has moved from Stoke to Bristol Rovers in the hope of obtaining some first-team football opportunities of his own with the 19-year-old defender joining the League One outfit until the end of the season.
Steve Bruce confirmed yesterday morning that he was hoping to complete a deal, reckoned to be worth a little over €1 million for the 25-year-old who, having turned down an offer from Barnsley, would be out of contract in the summer.
Hourihane, who has significantly more assists to his name than any other central midfielder in the Championship this season will, Bruce hopes, join new recruit Henri Lansbury in helping the Birmingham club address their goalscoring problems, something that has seriously handicapped their attempt to bounce straight back from relegation.
Norwich City, meanwhile, are on the verge of completing a €5 million deal for Dutch left back Marvin Zeegelaar who is set to arrive from Sporting Lisbon. The signing would boost Robbie Brady’s hopes of returning to the Premier League, something the Dubliner told the club this week that he is determined to do in the current window.
Sunderland had been leading the chase for the Irishman with David Moyes said to be a major fan but his interest is reported locally to have cooled and Burnley appeared to have emerged as the new frontrunners to sign the Republic of Ireland international amid suggestions that they had bid around €15 million for the him and Bournemouth had also expressed their interest.
Norwich manager Alex Neil claimed that was not true but didn’t do much to dispel the notion that the 25 year-old would soon be on his way.
“We are looking at players on that left side with Martin’s (Olsson) departure and the amount of speculation surrounding Robbie. It is only natural we would be looking for left-sided players. In terms of Robbie (though, it’s) the same as midweek with him. Exactly the same. There have been no enquiries from Bournemouth.”
Preston manager Simon Grayson has declined to rule out a move for Robbie Keane: “I’m not going to dismiss it but I’m not going to say it’s full on,” he said. “Would I be interested? Every club in this division would love the opportunity to speak to him.”
In the League of Ireland, meanwhile, former Preston striker Stephen Elliott has joined Drogheda United.