IB: Forward players will deliver
Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough has said he has full faith in his forward players to find their goalscoring touch as the Bit o’ Red go in search of a second SSE Airtricity Premier Division win on Friday night against Cork City.
Rovers were held to a 1-1 draw on Monday night in The Showgrounds against Drogheda United having dominated proceedings over 90 minutes.
The Bit o’ Red are currently without Raffaele Cretaro and Danny North due to injury, depleting some of the options available in attack, but Baraclough has said the likes of Sean Maguire and Eric Odhiambo will deliver for his side.
“They're young enough, they know they can do it. Keep re-iterating, they are goalscorers because they are. It's why Sean has got a move to West Ham. He has played in their Under-21s and they tell me he is a goalscorer.
“He knows where the goal is but strikers do go through periods where they lack a bit of confidence where they turn down the chance or miss the target. We'll keep picking them up, working in training, hitting the back of the net and we will get there.”
Reflecting on Monday’s draw, a night where dominance for the home side failed to manifest into maximum points, Baraclough said it was another frustration but a game he can’t fault for players for effort or endeavour.
“I had a real good feeling about Monday. From when we had the lads in that morning just to change things up, there was a great buzz around the changing room.
“I saw them coming in and a lot of positivity and willing us to do well around the town as well. There was a lot of support from a lot of people. Everything was geared up for three points.
“We talked about a game plan of getting at their full-backs and getting it in wide areas and straight from the off we did that. During the first half I felt we went through the middle a bit too much rather than keep putting it wide and giving it to the wide players. 'Keep switching play quickly' and we did more of that second half. We had some great balls in the box.
“I thought Aaron Greene, some of his balls were superb, Ross Gaynor on the other side, Kieran Djilali and Alan Keane. They put great balls in and some positive runs into the box to get on the end of them gambling. You just felt sure that one or two would go in.”
Baraclough said Drogheda’s goal, a fine breakaway strike by Declan O’Brien following a Rovers attack, is an example of how clinical his side need to be.
“Their striker, Fabio, has made the run in between the defenders. They've gone and played the ball. At times we turn that ball down.
“Our strikers are made for them type of balls. Getting in the box on the half-turn to spin and have a strike.
“At times it's frustrating because we do turn out to play that next perfect ball rather than to our striker making a run into the box across the man or in behind and we turn it down.
“I can't fault the players for effort. I can't fault them for endeavour. Some of the chances that were created, John Russell was distraught afterwards but he never stopped trying to get into the box. He puts them away in his sleep at times, it's just not falling for us.”
The lack of a second league win is a concern for Rovers albeit with a positive performance on Monday night.
The Rovers boss repeated his call for his players to continue their efforts and the victories will come.
Friday night’s encounter with in-form Cork is one that should excite his players, according to the Rovers boss.
“I don't think I'm kidding myself. I don't think the players are going home kidding themselves that they have given everything or not produced performances.
“I happen to believe we were better against Derry last Friday and didn't get a point. At the moment it's a case of just keep picking them up and we'll go to Cork on Friday, probably the underdog.
“Maybe that'll suit us. Nobody will expect us to get absolutely anything but we will in the dressing-room, we will.
“It's a league table we've not been used to. You won't get any negativity from me or my staff or the players. We'll dust ourselves down and get ready for a trip to Cork.
“A great stadium, who are getting good backing at the moment with 5,000 or 5,500, what is not to get up about that?
“Players want to play in front of big crowds, big ferriferous crowds and one that is against you. Go and turn the tables.”