Lyttle plans more games for pre-season

Sligo Rovers boss Gerard Lyttle said Monday night’s friendly with Linfield was a very useful evaluation as part of pre-season and is preparing to add more games to the schedule to gain further insight into his players.

Rovers lost 6-3 in the game in Belfast as an experimental formation in the opening 45 minutes led to the concession of five goals, and set-pieces contributed to most of those, including two direct free-kicks.

Lyttle said: “This game is one of the hardest games we will play and I wanted to see many things. We had the first proper week really because I’m not counting the Leonidas game. We were only back a couple of days and that was a bonding exercise more than anything as we said. It’s early doors but to play a game like this shows you what you have and where you are.

“I’m not happy with the goals we conceded and the manner we conceded them. Some of the goals were really poor with three coming from free-kicks and two from corners. It’s why we play these games.  You have to work on those things to get it right now.

“We tried a different formation in the first half and it’s the only time of year you can really experiment. It didn’t work out and we were caught out but again it’s where you learn. We gave a couple of the young players a chance as well to see how they would do.  

“One of the important parts of the games is seeing what we have and how they perform in matches.

“It wasn’t ideal in that the game was moved from Windsor Park and the pitch we played on was not good. But again that’s a good exercise again because you see how players adapt. It tests their mental state. We played some good stuff in the game, we moved the ball as well as we could. But there’s a lot to work on still. Overall it was a great exercise to bring us on.”

The manager was pleased to see Adam Morgan score his first two goals for the club and saw it as one of the positives from the friendly. 

“They were two very typical Adam Morgan finishes,” the manager stated.

“That’s a big thing to take from it and he has laid down a marker. John Mahon did reasonably well. In the end we were a bit naive in our play and the defending was poor and we’ve got five or six games to put that right. We stroked the ball around well and we can build on it.”

Lyttle said he is aware of the type of players he wants to bring to the club, including in mentality, and last night’s game also told him more on that.

A further trialist will be part of the squad for Saturday’s friendly with Mayo League in Castlebar and other avenues are continually being explored for recruitment, with the manager understandably not giving too much information now.  

“We know what we’re looking for. When you get out on the pitch and play 90 minutes you see it more and a greater understanding of what you’re lacking. I’m working to get players to fit in that.

“We’ll be looking at more players and like before it is taking efforts in all different avenues to try to get them in. It will take time but I’m confident we’ll get there.”

The Rovers boss also revealed he plans to add three more friendly matches to the schedule before the start of the season.

“We’re giving players 45 minutes here and there and we’ll step that up. As I said, the game in Holland isn’t really factored into our preparations. We have likely two or three more games to add to the schedule, they are lined up.  

“We’ll be turning our attentions to what our starting team is and it’s up to the players to show they want to be in it.

“You can have players that look like world beaters in training and then when it comes to playing in games, it’s a different story. So we’ll see where everyone is and how they come on. It won’t be my fault if they are not in the team. It’s up to them to prove themselves.” 

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