Fahey home on compassionate leave

Birmingham City manager Lee Clark has given Keith Fahey as much time off as he needs to deal with what the club have described as “personal and family” issues.

The Dubliner, who withdrew from the Irish panel for this week’s friendly against Greece with flu, has now flown home on compassionate leave from Birmingham.

“Keith Fahey has gone back to Ireland for personal and family reasons,” said the Blues boss.

“It’s compassionate leave. Whatever time it takes for that to get sorted, we’ll leave in Keith’s hands. There’s no time scale. Football is my life and I take it very seriously but the one thing that is more important than football is my family, so I’m very understanding with my players if there’s a situation like this.”

Out of respect for the player’s privacy, Clark declined to reveal the exact circumstances of Fahey’s situation.

“I don’t want to go there because it’s far too private,” he said. “But it’s not an issue and I’ve told Keith that however long it takes — if it’s days, weeks or runs into a month or months — it’s not a problem. He needs to get it sorted because you have to go onto a football field with a clear mind. Keith will decide when it’s right for him to come back to the football club.”

Giovanni Trapattoni only learned of the news about Fahey when it broke while the Ireland manager was giving a press conference at FAI headquarters yesterday.

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