Rovers prepare for Falkirk test in Irn Bru Scottish Challenge Cup
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.