Rovers back for pre-season
Dave Robertson says he was pleased to get back on the training field on Monday and begin preparations for the 2017 season.
There are 48 days remaining before the big kick-off as Rovers take on Limerick on February 25th.
Having set an off-season regime for players to keep in shape during the past two months Robertson praised how fit they were upon returning to the Showgrounds:
“I am really pleased with how the players reported back for pre-season and how they did today. The intensity and tempo for day one of pre-season was fantastic. It is a testament to the progress we made during the course of the season. They all returned in excellent shape and are all ready and raring to get going for the new season.
“The foundations that we put in place last year are really paying dividends now. I can’t wait to start doing more work to put some of the meat on the bones to what we have been doing.
“We will be generally having a similar schedule to last year’s pre-season but it will be tweaked slightly as the group are in a better place than they were a year ago. The first week we will get things kick-started with the game with Westport United. We’ll be two line-ups for each of the 45 minutes to give everyone an initial run. Week two will be particularly tough and we will be working extra sessions.
“In weeks three and four we will be building towards game preparation and start turning our minds towards the first league game at Limerick. Then in the final two weeks we will be putting a little icing on the cake with the things we have been working on to be ready for the new campaign.”
There has been three new additions to the squad already in goalkeeper Shaun Patton, defender Kyle Callan-McFadden and midfielder Chris Kenny. Robertson continued by saying that he is happy with the initial signs on their embedding into the squad, a key factor for success:
“The three new lads have fitted in really well already today. Kyle has done brilliantly, Shaun got to see plenty of action today and Chris has hit the ground running. They will continue to integrate into the squad more as the games come, that will allow them to develop a better understanding of our team. I think we are in a really strong position with who we have brought in.”
The Bit o’Red will first step on the pitch this Saturday afternoon at 2pm in an opener away to Westport United. The Rovers boss sees it as the ideal way to get things started for 2017:
“I think it will be really good for us. First and foremost, it is about continuing to open links with our community. I know that we have a lot of support in Westport and Mayo in general so it will be a great opportunity for those fans to see their team play locally.
“For the players, they want to get games. They are itching to get going. I think this game will be a good introduction for some of them as they get 45 minutes. It will help to get some of the rust out of their system. It is a great fixture for us to play and to develop of links with Westport.”
Finally Robertson updated on the progress being made behind the scenes in securing the three or four more new players he is seeking to add to the squad for his second season at the helm:
“There are lots of negotiations going on with different clubs at the moment. We will have some trailists coming and going as is the nature of pre-season. There is a number of players we have targeted that there is talks going on with. There is a lot of movement of players going on in the UK at the moment and as it evolves it will open things up for us to make some signings. We are looking at the final three or four players now, but as always it is about getting the right players and people in. It is braver to wait for the best players to become available. We want to get it right with our signings to help us improve on the 49 points we earned last year, that will be our focus this year.”
Photography thanks to Alan Finn, Sligo Weekender.