Lyt­tle hope­ful Rovers can build mo­men­tum as they pre­pare for St. Pa­trick’s Ath­letic

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - By JES­SICA FARRY

SLIGO Rovers man­ager Ger Lyt­tle is hop­ing that his side can put to­gether a run of form as they head into their fi­nal few games of the sea­son.

The Bit O’Red take on Liam Buck­ley’s St. Pa­trick’s Ath­letic this Satur­day at The Show­grounds, and Lyt­tle wants his side to make it three wins in a row as they look to make sure of safety.

Ger Lyt­tle’s men sur­prised many by beat­ing Cork City last week, and their vic­tory over Liv­ingston Colts means it was the first time all sea­son they have recorded back to back win­ners.

“We’ve hit form. We’ve hit form in the league. Take the Dun­dalk game out, we’ve won a good few games on the road and it’s im­por­tant that we keep build­ing mo­men­tum. We have six league games left this sea­son plus this cup. I’d love to win all six, we don’t go out to lose games. We’ll go out and give it our best shot and pre­pare as best we pos­si­bly can,” said Lyt­tle.

The Irn Bru Cup vic­tory over Liv­ingston came at a good time for Rovers, as they have had to plan around a very stop/ start sched­ule once again.

“It’s like last sea­son with that big break. It’s al­ways nice to have some­thing to look for­ward to and we’ve ob­vi­ously touched a wee bit of luck get­ting into the com­pe­ti­tion but we wanted to make the most out of it.

“It’s great for us, rather than hav­ing a free week­end, there’s noth­ing worse as a club or a team to be sit­ting do­ing noth­ing so we’ll make the most of it. It gives us a wee bit of mo­men­tum as well which is im­por­tant go­ing into the St. Pats game.

“Win­ning in Cork and win­ning tonight, win­ning be­comes a habit and it’s im­por­tant that we con­tinue to do that.”

Satur­day’s vic­tory was an im­por­tant one, he felt, as Rovers’ home form has been so poor this sea­son.

“It was im­por­tant as well be­cause our home form has not been good enough. Tonight it felt like we took the away per­for­mances into a home per­for­mance. It was re­ally im­por­tant to go and put a bit of a show on for the home fans. Also it was our first back-to-back win this sea­son which is im­por­tant too. Re­ally pleased with the at­ti­tude, re­ally pleased with the per­for­mances of late and also re­ally pleased that we were able to get more young lads on. All in all it was a real pos­i­tive per­for­mance and re­sult.”

Rovers might not have started the game in the best man­ner, but their re­sponse to go­ing be­hind so early pleased Lyt­tle.

“I said to the boys at half-time that we were a bit too ca­sual at times, on the ball, I don’t know whether it’s a con­fi­dence thing or not. It’s al­right be­ing ca­sual in the fi­nal third but def­i­nitely not in our own de­fen­sive third. It was a les­son.

“Ob­vi­ously we re­cov­ered well in get­ting the goal quick enough af­ter­wards and we were able to set­tle a wee bit. In the first half as well they were ag­gres­sive, they showed why they’re in this round of the cup.

“I thought the sec­ond half we took it up a few gears and we were able to play some good at­tack­ing foot­ball and ob­vi­ously we were more clin­i­cal.”

The former Cliftonville boss praised the hard work of striker Mikey Dren­nan, whose hat-trick saw Rovers through to the next round of the cup.

It’s been dif­fi­cult at times for the former As­ton Villa man, but Lyt­tle praised his work-rate.

“He’s been work­ing bril­liantly in train­ing and in games. Some­times it’s a thank­less job he does, es­pe­cially last week against Cork. He was up top on his own and he was fight­ing for ev­ery­thing, and he was dis­ap­pointed com­ing off that he didn’t get any chances. He works all day and he moves and he makes great runs, some­times we pick him out and some­times we don’t. I’m just de­lighted that tonight he’s hit the tar­get.”

With Rovers not far­ing so well in do­mes­tic cup com­pe­ti­tions this year, Lyt­tle stressed the im­por­tance of get­ting through at least one round of the Irn Bru Cup. The draw for the next round is due to take place to­day (Tues­day).

“I want to win ev­ery game. Whether it’s Irn Bru Cup or what­ever, we’re dis­ap­pointed with our cups this year, do­mes­ti­cally. It’s some­thing that we al­ways want to try and achieve. This club loves cup com­pe­ti­tions and it’s im­por­tant that we were able to get through this round.

“It was a dif­fi­cult one to pre­pare for be­cause we didn’t know an aw­ful lot about the team. We tried to get as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble and to be fair Wil­lie McS­tay and one of his con­tacts helped us out.

“That team there, I think nine of them were in the start­ing line-up against For­far (in the last round of the Irn Bru Cup) so they were de­cent. We were dif­fer­ent class es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half.”

He added: “The book­ies made us big favourites but you know, Cork were big favourites last week and they didn’t win.

“Foot­ball is a funny old game and it was just im­por­tant that we were pro­fes­sional tonight and we worked hard and we didn’t get sloppy and we didn’t go out there ex­pect­ing to win the game.

When you see the first goal go­ing in you’re like ‘Je­sus here we go again’ but we re­cov­ered re­ally well.

“Fair play to the lads, the workrate has been re­ally great and not just in games but dur­ing the week. We don’t want the sea­son to just pot­ter out and play for noth­ing.

“It’s im­por­tant that lads out there are play­ing, they’re play­ing for their fu­tures as well and young lads are play­ing to try and get into the team and es­tab­lish them­selves.”

Cameron Blues and Adam Wixted.

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