Baraclough: Result the only disappointment in final outing

Sligo Rovers Ian Baraclough declared himself pleased with the performance in Sunday’s President Cup defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic, but rued his side not making their fine display count.
 
The Bit o’ Red were unfortunate to go down to a 1-0 defeat in the inaugural event in Richmond Park having created several openings and controlled possession for large parts of the game.
 
It was a promising 90 minutes overall for Rovers as the SSE Airtricity League opener edges closer this Saturday.
 
Speaking to sligorovers.com on Sunday afternoon, Baraclough said: “The result was the only disappointing thing. I thought we played fairly well, I thought we dominated possession; the final third with the final ball was the only thing lacking a lot of the time. 
 
“One or two mistakes led to them having one or two breakaways. But on the whole it was a pleasing exercise yes. 
 
“We have been together five weeks and that is all. I am happy with where are fitness wise. A lot of the players are improving game-by-game. If we were a bit sharper with the final pass or the finish, the scoreline would have different. 
 
“We had seven or eight good chances compared to their three or four but that's the difference. They've scored with one and it has cost us the game. But in the main, we're really pleased.
 
“That was two teams at this stage of the season that will hopefully be up there challenging. Both sides will take positives from it going into the season.”
 
Yesterday’s Presidents Cup was the final fixture before the meeting with Athlone Town, a match Baraclough was happy to add to his schedule as an additional pre-season against league favourites Pat's
 
It ended a six-match pre-season that also included a 4-1 win over Crusaders in the Setanta Sports Cup last week. 
 
“The important thing for me was for everyone to receive about 360 minutes game time," Baraclough said.  
 
“We've had one game called off and the majority have had in or around 360 minutes which is pleasing thing. 
 
“Coming out today, there are no injuries and most of the lads have had 90 minutes or two lots of 90 minutes and that is the thing with pre-season. We've accomplished that.  Ross Gaynor had a little tightening at the top of the hamstring so I wasn't going to risk him today. 
 
“Sean Maguire took a knock in training on the ankle on Saturday so again, I wasn't going to risk anybody for the sake of a pre-season game. 
 
“It's just a bang on the ankle and with Danny North suspended next week, he'll be required. It was to make sure we didn't have two strikers not available for next week.” 
 
Saturday’s game will bring much excitement to The Showgrounds in the first competitive fixture in Sligo for the year.
 
From this weekend, and for the entire course of the season, the Rovers manager has challenged his players to prove their strengths over 33 league matches. 
 
He concluded: “The boys can be pleased with what has happened in the last five weeks. We now look forward to a league campaign that we feel we can really do well in. We have nobody to be afraid of. 
 
“For us we know where we can improve and the lads know individually and collectively what things we need to work on and we'll be okay.”

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