Some quotes from Stephen Bradley in advance of Fridays night’s game v Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium, kick off 7.45pm, live on RTÉ2
It was another late win in Drogheda on Tuesday. How happy were you to get that goal right at the end?
“Obviously we were delighted to get the goal and the win. It’s a tough place to go and on the whole game I thought we deserved it. We had a few chances and again it just shows the mentality in the group, the way they never stop believing which is really important.”
It was a great delivery and header for the winning goal. Was that straight off the training ground?
“We know Dylan’s delivery is always on point. It’s about making sure that the runners and the players in the box find their lanes and make sure they hit them. The delivery is always there. I think on the night we had three chances from set plays, corners and free kicks from which we should have done better. ”
What did you think of our general play overall? What was good and what could have been better?
“In the first we half we probably got dragged into their type of game a bit too often. But in the second half we settled and played more like ourselves and created some chances. Their keeper made one or two good saves. There’s definitely still stuff to improve on but overall I thought we were good.”
We’re making a habit of these late goals now. Do the players believe the goal will eventually come if they remain patient?
“I think they’ve shown that over a period of time. They believe in what we do and they don’t stop believing until the final whistle is blown. They keep probing and keep looking for the opening and it takes a lot of courage and bravery to do that because you can get sucked into just kicking it long when it comes to the latter stages of the game. But the players don’t, they keep probing and they get their rewards.”
You spoke about the pitch being a leveller. How did the players find the surface and the size in terms of finding spaces on it?
“We knew before we went there it’s a small pitch and obviously when you put that in with how firm the pitch was, it makes it a difficult venue to come play in. They’re going to take a lot of points off teams up there this year because they work extremely hard for each other and they’re well organised. I can see it being a difficult game for most teams.”
Chris McCann played very well in midfield when he came on. How much did he influence the game in the second half?
“I thought Chris was excellent when he came on but I think that’s the way the squad has been. Every player that’s either started or come on has made an impact and that’s really important because the squad is obviously going to be key to what we do this year. Right now it’s proven to be the case.”
Are you happy with our points tally after six games played?
“Yes we’re really happy with the points. We know we’ll get better and stronger as the season goes on but we’re really happy with where we are at this moment in time.”
What do you make of Bohemians this season?
“I only watched their game against Sligo and it was a pretty even game. Both teams had chances and there wasn’t much in the game. It was a really competitive game and of course we expect the same tomorrow.”
Is Rovers v Bohs a game everyone looks for in the fixture list when it comes out at the start of the season?
“Not for players or staff. We concentrate on the next game and like any game it’s about concentrating on the next one and being ready to play and win it. I’m sure the fans look for the derby straight away but for players and staff it’s all about the next opponent.”
The first derby behind closed doors last year was quite a strange experience but Rovers did get the 1-0 win. Do you think the two sets of players are able to bring their own level of intensity to the game even without the fans there making noise?
“I think that’s natural between two good teams and rivals in a derby. That intensity will always be there. It’s just obviously not the same without the fans. That’s every game but more so in a Dublin derby. The natural rivalry will be there but it’s definitely not the same without the fans.”
What’s the latest with injuries in the squad?
“Neil Farrugia is still a bit away and we’ll have to check on Joey O’Brien but he’s been doing well. Sean Kavanagh picked up a knock in Drogheda so we’ll have to see how that is.”