One for all and all for one. Sligo Rovers’ present position, as leaders of the Airtricity League, hinges on a collective effort, according to team boss Ian Baraclough.
“It hasn’t just been the 11 players on the pitch, but the entire squad. We’ve got a small squad, I keep saying that, but it is full of quality. The young lads that have come in, the likes of David Cawley and Lee Lynch, have all played their part. We have a good balance,” said Baraclough.
The Rovers manager, mindful how injuries and suspensions could impact to this group’s detriment, said that he hoped to make at least one or two signings in the transfer window later this summer.
While the Bit O’Red are setting the pace, Baraclough, speaking after Saturday’s home win against Shamrock Rovers, identified a host of title contenders.
“Everyone wants to beat ourselves, Shams and St Pat’s. Derry are a strong side and Drogheda are the ‘dark horses’. Cork have had a slow start but they are starting to pick up results.”
“There are a lot of teams that that can do a lot of damage, but everyone wants to beat us because we are top at the moment,” he stated.
Reflecting on the significant defeat of last season’s champions, he said: “We were solid defensively and you have to have a solid base to springboard from. I just felt that down the channels, where we could get in behind them, was something we could exploit.”
Baraclough said that this big game was always going to be brimming with tension.
“There was always going to be [tension]. There were two top teams playing, it was live on television.”
“There were far too many yellow cards for my liking. But the referee [Tom Connolly] saw fit to stamp down on it early and he carried on in the same vein.”
“I don’t like to see people being sent off and some of the gloss may be taken of it [the result] because people will say that we were only up against nine men. But I think the damage was done against 11 men.”
He added: “It was important that we finished the game with 11 players because things can come down to the amount of suspensions you pick up. It is important that you treat the referee right and you don’t make silly tackles.”