Becoming more & more critical that managerial decision is made
IT took Sligo Rovers a total of 33 games to ensure their survival for 2018. A final day scoreless draw with Drogheda at United Park meant no matter how the bottom three got on, there was to another year of Premier Division football to enjoy.
I don’t think you could really describe this season, what’s left of it, as ‘enjoyable’. Maybe a struggle, maybe a chore. Either way, top flight status has been ensured for 2019. Again after 33 games albeit with three more to go.
Ger Lyttle’s remit this season was stability, but certain evidence of progression was a necessity. Safe three games early. Does that translate as progression?
The talk on the terrace in Waterford last month was that a decision on whether Lyttle will be the man to take us into 2019 would be made after the Bray game.
The situation may well have changed by the time the Sligo Champion hits the newspaper stands, but as of Monday morning there’s been no announcement.
Could advancement in the Irn Bru Cup now be the decider? The benchmark which progression will be decided upon?
I said it a fortnight ago and I still believe Ger will be here in 2019. Does he deserve another crack?
I have genuinely met less than a handful supporters who believe so, but then I haven’t met everyone. Either way, the decision lies with the few.
Again, it’s becoming more and more critical that some sort of agreement is reached.
If he’s to go, the work should already be well underway in identifying a ready replacement. If Lyttle is staying, it needs to become common knowledge.
Lyttle has said himself that he’s already targeted a few players who he feels will improve the squad. Of course, we’ve heard that before and not all signings will or have worked out. There’s even one or two tied down for next year who don’t look to meet the standard required.
But those players Lyttle has his focus on aren’t guaranteed to commit no matter the terms. Many will be sought after by clubs with the ability to offer more.
But while most footballers just follow the best deal for them, not knowing this week, who their coach will be come the opening night next spring, is a disadvantage to Rovers in an already squeezed market.
Saturday’s scoreline probably should have been a little kinder to Rovers. But total dominance in the first half counted for nothing when the teams went in level at the break.
The second half saw a lull in the pace of the game bar the five minutes between the three goals. But anything but a home win would have been unkind.
Although that is the very least you’d expect against a team who haven’t won a game away from home all season. Even with Rovers’ horrific form on their own pitch.
The inclusion of like likes of Lewis Morrison, Caolan McAleer and even Kyle McFadden seemed like auditions for contracts. Morrison and McAleer might do well to still be here next season, while McFadden had one of his better games.
So now with the top and bottom two places cemented, all that’s left to decide is the remaining European place.
Shamrock Rovers and Waterford will know if fourth spot is still a viable route to the Europa League after last night’s cup replay between Bohs and Cork. For the other Rovers, it’s a novel trip to Scotland to face Motherwell Colts.
Colts had won three of their last five league games before yesterday’s cup fixture with Queen of the South. Even then, it’s difficult to gauge what sort of team Rovers can expect to face on Saturday.
We have our fair share of youth in the current squad. But appraising Colts’ level by the Livingston game alone, you have to expect a full Rovers team to do the business against a team that is likely to be made up mostly of teenagers.