Rochdale boss explains decision to omit Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu

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Brian Barry-Murphy was keen to give the 19-year-old ‘a breather’ after a hectic period of fixtures.

GAVIN BAZUNU’S ABSENCE from the Rochdale team for yesterday’s game against Ipswich Town was down to his manager’s desire to give the youngster a rest.

Bazunu has been Rochdale’s first-choice goalkeeper since joining the League One club on loan from Manchester City last August.

However, the 19-year-old was left on the bench for the visit of Ipswich, with Jay Lynch keeping a clean sheet in a game that ended goalless.

Afterwards, Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy explained his decision to leave Bazunu out, with the Corkman clarifying that his omission wasn’t performance-related.

Bazunu played in last Friday’s 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth, which was his third outing in seven days. The Dubliner had just returned from international duty, having earned his first senior caps in Ireland’s games against Luxembourg and Qatar.

“I was very conscious of the fact that for a few weeks I’ve been desperate to give Gavin a breather,” Barry-Murphy told Rochdale AFC’s official website.

“He didn’t get the international break and he’s had a very intense block of games – and there’s an amount travelling involved too. It’s been on my mind for a while and, if I’m being honest, Friday at Portsmouth was where I was seriously considering it, but I asked him to go again.”

Bazunu has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season for a Rochdale side who remain at the bottom of the League One table. Their next outing is an away game against Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

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Barry-Murphy added: “Today was a great afternoon to give Jay [Lynch] a deserved start, because he’s been exceptional in his work. The healthy competition between both of those guys has been falling in favour of Gavin and he has done really well, but I felt as if Jake had to play today.

“It’s easy to underestimate and say he didn’t have a lot to do, but his work was very clean and I thought he was very assured. I thought he complimented the rest of the guys very well in a strong defensive performance and his distribution was excellent.”

Originally published at 12.50

Gavin Bazunu has made 32 appearances in all copmpetitions for Rochdale this season.

Gavin Bazunu has made 32 appearances in all copmpetitions for Rochdale this season.

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