NEW winger Liam Feeney is out to put one over the club and manager who gave him his big break – in a bid to help Blackburn Rovers win the forgiveness of their fans.
Feeney, who has signed for Rovers on loan from league rivals Millwall, admits he is indebted to Eddie Howe and Bournemouth for plucking him out of non-league football five years ago.
But the 27-year-old will put sentiment aside tonight when Gary Bowyer’s wounded side attempt to make amends for Sunday’s East Lancashire derby defeat with victory over Bournemouth at Ewood Park (7.45pm).
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“Everyone is disappointed, no more so than the fans, but we’ve got a quick turnaround and a game that gives us the chance to get right back on track,” said Feeney, who played a major part in the Cherries’ remarkable rise from the bottom of League Two to the Championship after signing for them from Salisbury City in 2009.
“The Championship is relentless and I’m sure if we pick up a couple of good results in the next week or two then the defeat, if not forgotten, will be forgiven a little bit.”
Feeney, who came off the bench to make his Rovers debut in the 2-1 loss to Burnley, was part of the Bournemouth side that survived relegation from League Two in 2008-09 despite suffering a 17-point deduction after going into administration.
The Londoner then helped the Cherries win promotion the following season before he joined Millwall in September 2011.
By that stage Howe had already left Dean Court to take over as Burnley boss.
But Howe, having returned to Bournemouth in October 2012 and having led them to promotion from League One last season, will be reunited with Feeney this evening.
“I’m indebted to the club and the manager who is there now and who left and came back as he gave me my chance,” said Feeney, who made 121 appearances and scored 14 goals for the Cherries.
“It is a club that is close to my heart and I’m glad to see it doing so well in the Championship after the financial difficulties they had when I was there.”
The pacy wideman, who can play on either flank, will not forget his Rovers debut in a hurry – and not just because it ended in the club’s first defeat to Burnley in 35 years.
Feeney was booked just seconds after coming on for a challenge on Scott Arfield that he feared could have landed him the most dramatic of red cards.
“After it settled down and the referee came over there were a few seconds when they were asking for a red card and I was thinking it must have been quite bad if they were asking for it,” said Feeney, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Bolton Wanderers earlier this season.
“But what can you do? I couldn’t pull out of a tackle in a derby game like that and if I was in the same situation I’m sure I’d go for it again.”