Sligo Rovers’ Alan Keane League of Ireland column

Well first off an apology for the delay in writing this blog but it’s fair to say that a lot has happened on and off the pitch at Sligo Rovers since my last one! We lost Paul Cook two weeks before the season started when he left to take over at Accrington Stanley. There was an anxious wait among us all to see who would be the new gaffer.

Two days before the season kicked off the club appointed Ian Baraclough and I think it’s a great appointment. Since he’s come in he’s made the transition as smooth as possible. As anyone who’s been in the same situation knows, when you lose a manager it could lead to a rocky patch but Ian has been as professional as possible and his training has been quality. His aim is for us to play football as well and that means keeping it down and playing on the ground.

For Ian to come in two days before the season started had to be difficult but he has adapted really well and seven games in we are top of the league and breaking club records. A lot of it also is down to the attitude of the players.

We had a turbulent off season but we kept our heads down as we all have the one aim, to win things for this club and we know that we can do just that. We have had some good results and are still unbeaten in the league. I was disappointed that we didn’t really perform to the level that we can against Derry last week especially as the game was on television but I think we have seen that no game will be easy this year as all of the teams in the League are capable of taking points off each other.

The result of the season so far has to go to St. Patrick’s Athletic who beat Shams 5-1. I think the League is shaping up well and that there are five teams – ourselves, Shams, St. Pat’s, Derry and Drogheda – who are all well capable of challenging for the title.

One negative about the season to date has been the state of some of the pitches which a lot of the players have been giving out about. It’s hard to know whether this is down to teams training on them regularly or for financial reasons in that teams aren’t able to appoint full-time ground-staff. I think that supporters coming to games want to support their team and see a good game and an enjoyable one and not have it ruined or affected by the playing surface.

Next up we’ve a long trip down to Cork on Friday but I’m looking forward to it as it is good to have Cork back in the League. Then on Monday we have the second leg of our Setanta Sports Cup semi-final against Crusaders where we will try to overcome a two goal deficit. Then we’ll be in action against three of the top 4 sides in the League as we face St. Pat’s, Drogheda and then Shams.

So it will be a busy few weeks but these are the games that you look forward to as a player. Hopefully by the time I’m writing my next blog we will still be up there in the League and through to the Setanta Sports Cup Final.



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