Be­com­ing more & more critical that man­age­rial de­ci­sion is made

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT -

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.

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