Keane: We will rally with all we have
Sligo Rovers defender Alan Keane has said his team-mates will do all they can to turn around the current poor run of form, starting with Friday night’s game against Derry City in The Brandywell.
Three SSE Airtricity League defeats in succession have led to a disappointing start for Rovers – albeit with three consecutive wins in the Setanta Sports Cup that leaves a 2-0 advantage against St Pat’s for the semi-final second leg – and there are now three league games to follow in the next nine days that will have a big say in the league campaign.
A test of character awaits Ian Baraclough’s side as fixtures with Derry, Drogheda United and Cork City move closer – Keane’s said the club's league fortunes can quickly be altered.
He told Rovers Review on Ocean FM: “There is a little bit of pressure on us going three games on the bounce with defeats. We just have to roll our sleeves up now and work to the Derry game on Friday and no further than that.
“It's not going to be easy. I can understand the frustration of fans. It is just as frustrating for players.
“We're in it together. Hopefully we come out of it on a good high. We want to start on Friday, get a win and go from there. The gaffer will have us set up well to know how to get at Derry.
“There are something like seven games in 27 days in all competitions. You could go from there to go on a run. It would breed confidence. A lot of lads will be lacking confidence. When things aren't going well, some lads might go lack a little bit of confidence and that is where a win can really change things.
“The boys will work hard and hopefully turn over Derry.”
Keane revealed the hurt in the Rovers camp after a third defeat in the league in Tallaght last Friday and a feeling the players had “let everyone down” as they fell seven points behind the leading sides.
A basis of four seasons of sustained success for the club is not something Keane is willing to fall back on – he feels the time is nigh for more points on the board and thinks the Rovers fans can play their part as well.
“I know we've had a great four years. We probably haven't had a run in a long time where we have gone three games on the bounce. It is now you need the support.
“They have been great to us, sometimes when you're down and you really need that bit of a lift. That is when you really need the supporters behind us.
“We're hurting too. I know fans have their rights and opinion and that is what the way it is. But we need them behind us.
“It is tough, it's not easy being in the dressing-room after defeat because you feel like you've let everyone down. We need that win to get the ball rolling but it will come.”
The match against a Derry City side that have been difficult to play against and growing in belief after a battling display against champions St Patrick’s Athletic last week brings another tough obstacle for Keane and his fellow players.
While he admits the onus is on Rovers to get three points, it is not a situation that will overawe the three-time FAI Cup winner.
“Friday night is now an important game for us,” Keane admitted.
“It's funny this league, we could go on a seven, eight or nine unbeaten run and a couple of wins and we're right back in it. It's so early in the season for people to be writing teams off. But we need to be in around the mix. You can't fall too far behind. By losing these three games you don't leave yourself much room for error towards the business end.
“As I said, if you can put a run together, we have a great squad with some great players. Once you get that win, you get the belief back in the squad again. It is just getting that belief back that we are well able to challenge again.
“We actually like going to The Brandywell now. We've been lucky up there. They're a changed team this year with Roddy coming in. They've been keeping it tight with mostly draws so far, Ian and Gary will look at them really hard and go in-depth and we'll work on it where their strengths and weaknesses.
“It is one you are relishing. Yes we're under pressure, but we'll roll our sleeves up and hopefully put one over them.”
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