Rovers pre­pare for Falkirk test in Irn Bru Scot­tish Chal­lenge Cup

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT -

AS Sligo Rovers pre­pare to play host to Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship side Falkirk at The Show­grounds this Satur­day, Ger­ard Lyt­tle says he will not be tak­ing this game lightly.

Rovers had no game this week­end gone by due to their exit from the FAI Cup, and will play Falkirk next week­end, be­fore fac­ing an­other week’s break.

The Bit O’Red’s next league game takes place on Septem­ber 16th, with an away trip to Finn Harps.

Speak­ing to slig­orovers. com, Ger Lyt­tle said that while it is frus­trat­ing to be with­out a league game, it means the pres­sure is off for a cou­ple of weeks.

“It’s frus­trat­ing in a way and it’s not. We can take stock and sit back and have a look at the other teams. I think I’ll be watch­ing Gal­way, I watched Finn Harps last Mon­day, I’ll prob­a­bly watch them again and Gal­way again too ac­tu­ally. The pres­sure will be on them to get re­sults in their games in hand.

“We have played our game with the Bray point. In that sense it’s not too bad. Af­ter a big win you want to get back play­ing against as quickly as pos­si­ble. That’s the dis­ap­point­ing thing.”

By the time the Finn Harps game swings by, Rovers will have gone four weeks with­out play­ing a league game. In that sense, the game against Falkirk is coming at a good time.

And, the former Cliftonville boss says they may con­sider play­ing a friendly.

“We are look­ing at a friendly game in be­tween. We’re look­ing at a cou­ple of op­tions. Hope­fully we’ll have some­thing come up with that.”

Lyt­tle is un­der no il­lu­sions re­gard­ing the strength of Falkirk.

“It’s come at a good time and it’ll be a tough game for us. We look for­ward to the chal­lenge of Falkirk. Ob­vi­ously they are a de­cent team. They were very un­lucky last year in terms of los­ing in the play- offs to go up into the Pre­mier­ship. We’re look­ing for­ward to it.

“We’ve watched them a few times and their sea­son hasn’t good off to a good start but they are a big club and a de­cent team and it’ll be a hard game. You want to win every game. It’ll be good for the club and good for the sup­port­ers if we beat them and get a draw away from home maybe.”

And Lyt­tle says he will not be look­ing at this game with a view to field­ing a weak­ened team - it wil serve as vi­tal prepa­ra­tion go­ing into the last six games of the league cam­paign.

“It can be a good dis­trac­tion in a sense. We’ll man­age it and see how we go. “We’ll be go­ing out to win the game, we’ll not be think­ing we’ll put a weak­ened team out be­cause it’s a big part of our prepa­ra­tion for Finn Harps.”

Mean­while, de­spite not get­ting off to the best of starts with mid­fielder Craig Rod­dan, Lyt­tle says he has been im­pressed with how the Liver­pudlian re­sponded to be­ing left out of the team.

“I don’t think we hit it off. There were things I saw in him that I didn’t par­tic­u­larly like. I sup­pose he was car­ry­ing an in­jury at the time. It was stop- start for him.

“We didn’t get off to a good start. But we spoke and to be fair to him he’s been very pro­fes­sional since day one and very adamant that Sligo is the place for him. He loves the club. He loves play­ing for the club and he’s de­ter­mined to keep the club up. That’s the type of char­ac­ters and play­ers I need.

“He has driven us on with the in­ten­sity in his play. He has kept things very sim­ple.

“He’s been hard in the tackle and every­thing we want him to be. I’m de­lighted for him be­cause he has proven me wrong. I have no shame in say­ing that. I’m de­lighted for any player to prove me wrong on their judge­ment.

“I’ve judged him wrong at this minute and at the minute he’s prov­ing me wrong in what he can do and how he can help the team. I’m happy with that and any other player that feels the same, I’m happy to do it too. Long may it con­tinue.

“It’s only two games. Hope­fully he can do it for the rea­son of the sea­son. We’re re­ally dis­ap­pointed he’s go­ing to miss the next game but if we can do that the rest of sea­son it will only be good for the team.”

The former Celtic player also praised the im­pact of Scot­tish mid­fielder Rhys McCabe.

“Rhys is a top tal­ent. You could say we were very lucky to get him, al­most. It was a fair bit of luck when I got the word that he wasn’t happy at Dun­fermline. I moved re­ally quickly and spoke to his agent at the time.

“Not only is he a top tal­ent on the pitch, he’s re­ally good about the chang­ing- room. He’s re­ally good about the place. He brings the boys to­gether.

“For just 24 years of age, he has a re­ally ex­pe­ri­enced head on him. He’s a joy to work with. He’s get­ting bet­ter as the games go on and hope­fully he can con­tinue to put in per­for­mances as he’s done.”

Sligo Rovers play­ers dur­ing their surf les­son in Strand­hill on Fri­day. Pic: An­drew Kil­feather.

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