Coleman targets historic night
Sligo Rovers manager John Coleman has said the objective is clear for his players as they plot Europa League history for the club on Thursday night against FK Banga.
Rovers will attempt to progress in the competition for the first time against the Lithuanian outfit, with the first leg in Gargdzai finishing 0-0 and leaving a contest on a knife edge this Thursday.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference in The Showgrounds on Wednesday, Coleman said:
“It is well-balanced. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the away goal. We can’t get obsessed with them getting an away goal. If we win the game we go through, it’s as simple as that and that’s what our objective is going to be. I know we’re good enough but it doesn’t always grant you the passage to where you want to be .
£I’m pleased with the quality we’ve got. I’m pleased with the work-rate and effort that the players have shown in the short space of time that I have been here. We’re not going to take anything for granted. You just don’t turn up on the pitch and expect it to happen. It is going to take a lot of hard work, possibly a little bit of luck and a bit of quality as well. I think we have enough of that.
“I’m really looking forward to it. Even just being around the town a bit, you can feel the buzz and you could feel the buzz from Sunday. Hopefully it’ll be a special night in Rovers history and my own history.”
Tickets are on sale at turnstiles on Thursday night with adult prices €25 and children €10. Tickets are limited for the Treacy Avenue Stand.
The Rovers boss has been in the hotseat for less than a month with a win and a draw under his belt and no goals conceded from open play.
European football presents an early opportunity for Coleman to secure a significant achievement at the Bit o’ Red.
He has been pleased by the approach from his players so far.
“It has been very good. They have been a little bit down in the dumps. Players get like that. I’ve been around in football long enough to understand that things can go a bit stale and things can get a bit uncomfortable. Or sometimes in another case, too comfortable. Flat spots can occur in seasons. It is how you get out of them as quick as possible.
“Obviously a change is designed to aid that process, make it quicker, we’ve tried to bring in some new things. We not tried to overly change the style of play but certainly change the ethos of how we play. We have to be more forceful and on the front foot and play more exciting football. We want to enthuse ourselves and the fans and I think the players are buying into that.”
“I was really pleased with the effort and the commitment and what the players took on board last Sunday against Cork. I thought that all that was lacking was a goal to win the game. We played ever so well against a very, very good Cork side who were threatening to go top of the league. We need to replicate that performance, effort and desire and hopefully that little bit of luck that is deserting us will come our way.”
A massive crowd is expected on Thursday night in The Showgrounds to see if the Bit o’ Red can see off the Lithanian outfit.
Facing just a second home game in charge, Coleman said his opening match in Sligo was a sign of things to come and explained how he wants a cycle to work between his players and the fans.
“It is that old adage that one swallow doesn’t make a summer. We cant just say we have one good game and then go back to our old ways. We have to keep the front foot firmly on that accelerator and give it our best shot.
“Every team I’ve ever had, I’ve instilled in them that they fight for everything, every ball and for each other. They have to try and let the quality come through. Most of the time players enjoy playing like that. It becomes a circle that you can either take it up or down. The fans are enthused by it and the players play better which then in turn enthuses the fans even more so the players play even better.
“Or you have the flip side where players struggle, the fans get despondent so therefore the players don’t respond and the fans get even more despondent. The spiral goes down so we want to be on the upwards curve and try to build something here. First and foremost our style of football has to be firmly stamped and be the brand for Sligo Rovers. It has to be the brand the fans know that when they turn up and play their hard earned money, that’s what they’re going to get.
“We have to make that attractive enough to make them want to come in their numbers and feel as if they are missing out if they don’t come to see us. I’m sure some of the fans that didn’t make it last Sunday for example will have missed out on a good, whole-hearted performance. That might make the ones that were here to tell their friends that the team are having a go and playing good football.”