Athlone final test
Sligo Rovers last game of pre-season will come on the road to First Division Athlone Town tomorrow night at 7:45.
Rovers began pre-season with a win over Charlestown Athletic on a 7-0 scoreline. Since then there have been three home games producing two wins and a 75% win ratio.
That has included victories over the Irish Defence Forces and Derry city with Liverpool under-21 the only team to beat Rovers so far and also the only team to score.
The Bit o’Red will again have a full squad to choose from tomorrow with striker Phil Roberts now added.
Dave Robertson is looking forward to another challenge for his side to continue building towards opening night against Shamrock Rovers.
The boss has seen a steady improvement in the levels of his squad as the weeks have gone by in pre-season with fitness levels very close to where they will ultimately need to be, he said:
“It will be another game where we will look to make sure that everyone in the squad gets minutes under their belt and get closer to full match fitness. It also gives players the last opportunity to stake a claim to be in the team for the opening game in The Showgrounds with Shamrock Rovers. We are in a really good position with the squad with good competition for starting places all over. From the two keepers to in defence, midfield and the forwards there is healthy competition to get the starting shirt on the opening day.”
After playing Derry Robertson concluded that his team were about 80% ready to begin the 2016 season and this game will see another step towards finalising preparations: “The main things we will be looking for from the Athlone game is to embed our style of play further. There has been a distinct improvement from the Liverpool game to Derry at the weekend.
“We are getting better with each one. Getting that match sharpness is the key for us now. We want to make sure that we are ready for Shamrock Rovers on the opening night, it’s a game we are taking very seriously and looking forward to.”
Following relegation from the top flight in 2014 Athlone Town had to settle for a mid-table finish last season but are under new management for this campaign with the appointment of experience Alan Mathews as manager and Robertson expects a good test from them: “I think Athlone will be a team that should give us a good game. It will be another different test which is what we are looking for. We know what to expect from them on the night but we will be mainly focusing on our own side of things. This will be good for us in preparing and planning for away games. It should be a good one to prepare for Bohemians in our first away game when we make the trip to Dublin for that.”