Preview: New signings
Dave Robertson has assembled a new-look squad for 2016 by bringing in 12 new faces.
The new Rovers side has been given an injection of young, exciting talent with those recruited including players who have been with some of the biggest clubs in the U.K. and with underage international experience.
Get two know the new faces you will be seeing on The Showgrounds pitch this year a little better:
Micheal Schlingermann (Goalkeeper)
Named the best keeper in the league for the 2015 season by his fellow players despite his Drogheda team being relegated. This will be a return to Rovers for the Kiltimagh Keeper having begun his career here in 2009.
Schlingermann has gone on to establish himself as one of the finest between the sticks in the league over the past few years and has amassed 134 appearances to date. He described signed with Rovers as “coming home”.
Quote: “It was a great year for me personally last year but it was disappointing for the team. The aim for me this year is to keep up the performances but with a team that is up there competing. I know that’s what Sligo Rovers fans will want. We will want to bounce back from last year and hopefully I can be a big part of that.”
Robertson: “There was competition for his signature but the thing that impressed me most from my conversations with him is that he wants to keep progressing in his career. He still wants to learn and improve as a player. He is someone I think can bring a lot to our dressing room.”
Jimmy Keohane (Midfielder)
Keohane brings plenty of experience of playing in the Football League in the U.K. with a successful spell there for nearly five year. From Kilkenny he started with Championship Club Bristol City and then after a loan to Exeter City he moved permanently.
He spent four years with Exeter mainly playing in League One with 10 goals in 87 games. After playing with Woking this year Robertson has convinced Koehane to return home. He already cored on his first appearance at the Showgrounds against Liverpool under-21s
Quote: “I really enjoyed my time playing in England. I was there since 2010 with Bristol and Exeter and it was really good. I enjoyed having full-time football over there. I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and getting the new season started. As a player I like to get forward from midfield. I will try to get into attacking positions and create and score goals.”
Robertson: “He is 24 which is an excellent age. He has shown great commitment to come and play here and hopefully bring some success back to The Showgrounds. He is a player who is continuously looking to improve. He has the hunger and desire that I am looking for in a player and will be a great fit for us. He is also a Republic of Ireland under-19 international and played in European qualifiers with them and scored.”
Kieran Sadlier (Midfielder)
Sadlier is a Republic of Ireland under-21 international with 22 total caps at underage level. His youth career was spent with West Ham United, he left a year ago to get first team football which led to a successful spell in the SPL with St. Mirren (11 games, 1 goal).
Robertson signed him to his Peterborough United squad in August with his debut coming against Charlton Athletic. He has come to re-join Robertson who he describes as a manager who “puts confidence in his players”. Sadlier already has two goals to his name in pre-season.
Quote: “I want to come here and do really well for the club but I also hope to still go and play at a higher level. I will just focus on playing here and see where that takes me. I want to continue to play and I need the chance to do that. It will be nice to be able to play regularly here. I am looking forward to being able to play or be involved every Saturday and hopefully we can compete.”
Robertson: “Kieran is a player that I do rate very highly. He is a very exciting players and is a versatile attacker. He will come here with a very good footballing pedigree. He is someone that I know very well and I have enjoyed working with him in the past.”
Chris Lyons (Forward)
Lyons is a versatile attacking 22 year-old who brings four years of playing in the league. One of many players to make their name at U.C.D. he made his debut there in 2011.
With spells at Bohs and Shamrock Rovers also he enjoyed a good season with Bray Wanderers last year as they finished 6th with Lyons scoring one of his goals against Rovers.
Quote: “I am delighted with the move. Ever since I first played at The Showgrounds I loved the club. I love the atmosphere and pitch. Everything about it is good club. I can't wait to get started. It's going to be great. I think the team will do well this year, the manager is spot on with what he wants to do and how he wants us to play.”
Robertson: “He will give us good versatility in the attacking areas of the pitch but primarily I see him as being a striker for us this year. He has a great attitude. When doing my research everyone I spoke to about him spoke very highly of him, both as a player and as a person. I think he will contribute a lot to our team this year.”
Liam Martin (Winger)
Donegal’s Liam Martin is a second signing, along with Micheal Schlingermann, who had started his career with Rovers and returns after some good years elsewhere. An Ireland underage international who was with the club between 2011 and 2013, he had his best year in 2013 as he played in the Champions League against Molde.
A permanent move to Ballinamallard United, where he had been on loan before, has seen him develop further as a player. Player of the year with them last season as top scorer he was also their top scorer thus far this season. He has continued that with three in pre-season, Rovers best.
Quote: “I hope to fit in with the style of play that Dave Robertson likes. I spoke to him about the set-up he planned to have and I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t feel it suited me. He likes to play with a very attacking, positive style and I think that it should suit my game.
Robertson: “He has been here previously so he know what it is all about, he has even played for the club in European football. That means he knows exactly what to expect when he comes here. He will also be match sharp having been playing regularly since August in the Irish league. He will be fit and strong and he will also have improved from when he was last here two years ago. It’s a natural thing as players mature they will improve.”
Ciaran Nugent (Goalkeeper)
Keeper Nugent, from Massachusetts but with Irish heritage, is fulfilling an ambition by coming to play in the SSE Airtricity League. The keeper spent four successful years at college before moving to the professional ranks.
He joins from United Soccer League club Harrisburg City Islanders. Robertson signed the 24 year-old after an impressive trial period.
Quote: “I am real excited to be coming here. It is definitely going to be a big change for me and I think a step up from where I have played before. My entire family all live in Ireland beside my parents and one aunt so I am used to getting over here. I really love it and I am hoping to get my Irish passport soon. Ever since graduating college I have been hoping to get a move to come and play here so I am delighted now it’s happened.”
Robertson: “He is a great shot-stopper and has excellent distribution. He will provide good competition for places with Micheal Schlingermann. He definitely isn’t just coming in as a back-up. We want to create a competitive environment here where everybody is competing for places and the players are aware that they need to maintain their high levels to stay in the team.”
Craig Roddan (Midfielder)
Roddan brings to rovers the pedigree of having spent his youth career being educating at the famous Liverpool academy. The combative 22 year-old spent seven years there getting to play with the reserves before leaving at 21.
Since then he has gained Football League experience playing for both Carlisle United and Accrington Stanley. Like Nugent he was signed thanks to an impressive spell training with the team.
Quote: “Dave’s style of football I think really suits my game. My game is all about getting the ball down and playing. I can do the dirty side of things as well, every team needs that if you want to be successful but my style is getting the ball to feet and playing out from the back and passing.”
Robertson: “He got a great education from spending 12 years at Liverpool coming through their system from a young age right up to the under-21s. It shows the calibre he has and he has matured as a player since then. He is definitely ready to make a good impact here.”
Jaanai Gordon (Striker)
Striker Gordon comes to Rovers on loan from West Ham looking for goals. Gordon is one of the most exciting prospects at the Premiership club where he has been since they signed him at 18 from Peterborough United.
He came through Dave Robertson’s youth system and made his debut at 16 in the Championship and made seven first team appearances there before his move. Gordon already impressed by scoring in his first Rovers appearance against Derry City.
Robertson: “I have known Jaanai for a long time. I watched him through his journey. He signed first for the under-12s and came all the way through the system. He got fast-tracked into the first team. He has been scoring regularly this year with the West Ham under-21s and played last night for them in the Premier League under-21 Cup. Jaanai is an exceptional talent who is a natural goalscorer as well. I think he can score regularly here for us this season.
“I see him as an out and out centre forward. He will give us the threat we need up front to score goals and play with the attacking style we are looking for. He also has good physicality.”
Jordan Richards (Midfield)
Richards is the second of two loan signings made like Jaanai Gordon. Richards is a versatile player who operates mainly as a defensive midfielder but has also experience as a right-back.
He has come through the ranks to captain the under-21s at Notts County and also had an impressive loan stint earlier this season to Boston United.
Quote: “Dave was a very big factor in me choosing to come here. I am really looking forward to having the chance to work under him here. You can see from the record over his career that he likes working with youth. Hopefully we will work together well and it can be a good season for us.”
Robertson: “He is an exciting talent. I know him from playing against by teams at Peterborough United for Notts. County so I was aware of him from then and through his loan spell with Boston United. He has a very good passing range and can break up the play with his tackling so I see him playing a very big role for us in this season.”
Tobi Adebayo-Rowling (Right-back)
Adebayo-Rowling is another very well known to Robertson as he introduced him to league football by giving him his debut with Peterborough United in August.
He came to the Posh after starting with his local side Brighton & Hove Albion and played regularly to start the season before injury. As well as right-back he also can play on the wing and is also looking forward to re-uniting with Robertson.
Quote: “He signed me at Peterborough United when I was younger so I know him a while. From the minute I started working under him I enjoyed it. He knows the way I like to play which is great and he lets out go out there and express yourself. I also know Kieran Sadlier that has already signed here. We were together for a bit at Peterborough. I am looking forward to getting to play alongside him again.”
Robertson: "He operates mainly as a right-back but can also play on the right wing so he brings more options to us there. He is an exceptionally strong defender and he also has a lot to offer us in attack. I am really quite excited to get this done.”
Michael Leahy (Centre-back)
Experience at the back was added with the signing of Mick Leahy. The 26 year-old has been in the league ever since debuting at U.C.D. in 2009.
The Dubliner became an important player there as captain of the side before moving to Limerick in 2014. With one year there he returned to lead the U.C.D. side again but is excited to be playing in Sligo for this year.
Quote: “I am really glad to get signed. I had a couple of other offers but I was holding out to come here. I was hoping that I would have the chance to come and I am delighted that I have. It’s great to be able to get back to playing full-time football. I actually came down a couple of years ago when Ian Baraclough was manager to talk about signing but I decided to stay at U.C.D. so I could finish my final year of studies. So it’s good to have finally signed.”
Robertson: “He is exactly the type of player we are looking for. Most importantly he has the ability to defend very well and also to play in the passing game that we want. He is the right type of player for us and really suits the style that our team will be looking to play with.”
Phil Roberts (Striker)
Roberts last week become the final new piece added to this year’s Bit o’Red squad. Roberts was a stand-out player in youth teams at arsenal finish top scorer two different years and playing with their Reserve side.
From there he went on loan to Scottish side Inverness and played in the SPL. At his next club Falkirk he scored a hat-trick on his debut and he comes to Sligo looking to make the next step in his career.
Quote: “I was really happy with how I performed in training and at the game at the weekend (against Derry City), though I would have liked to have scored a goal. But generally I was happy with how I done in helping the team and how I have blended in with the lads. The team plays good football which I like and hopefully it should suit me.”
Robertson: “He’s also another player who has had a very good upbringing in the game with having spent a few years at Arsenal when he was young. When he left there at a young age he got to play senior football early under Terry Butcher at Inverness. He has got some good experience since then with Dundee most recently. And on top of that he has played underage international football with the Republic of Ireland so he has gained some good experience.
“Despite that he is just 21 years old and he really fits the profile of what we want to do here. He is at a good age in his career and I am really pleased to have him with us.”
As well as this Robertson has given a first professional contract to under-19 graduate who has been an eye-catching performer in pre-season and completed the permanent signing of Tim Clancy after his big impact during his loan stay last season.
See them all in action this Saturday at The Showgrounds against Shamrock Rovers.