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Monday 1 September 2014

Sligo to make changes for their Leitrim encounter

Published 14/01/2014 | 05:40

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Sligo manager, Pat Flanagan, watching the drama unfold as his side played GMIT at Connolly Park, Collooney,

Sligo manager, Pat Flanagan, is planning to make a number of changes to his side for Sunday's Connacht FBD clash with Leitrim at Ballinamore.

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With one win and one defeat already in the competition, Sligo have an outside chance of reaching the final for the second year in a row.

And while Flanagan would welcome an extra match at this time of the year, he's anxious to continue with his policy of experimentation in the warm-up tournament.

"We're aware that we've got a slight chance of reaching the final but the most important thing at this stage of the year is to get players as much game time as possible," he asserted.

"With that in mind, we'll probably make a number of changes to our starting line-up for the game with Leitrim.

"We've only had six weeks together and we need to see as many players as possible in action", he added.

Sligo made ten changes to last Sunday's line-out against GMIT and the new-look team gave Flanagan his first win as Sligo manager.

"It's always good to get a win under our belts," he admitted.

"It's good for me and it's good for the players. It will give us confidence going forward."

Despite relentless rain, the surface at Connolly Park, Collooney, was in perfect shape for last week's encounter.

"The pitch was in excellent order but the conditions were difficult," said Flanagan.

"The one thing we did learn was that the players have plenty of character and desire.

"It was tough going out there but they stuck at it right to the end.

"I wasn't pleased with everything about our performance but we battled hard all the way.

"They looked a bit sharper in the early stages, which you would expect from a college team at this time of the year.

"But I felt we played ourselves into the game and dominated the last ten minutes of the first half.

"We got a vital goal at that stage and that set us up for the second half.

"I felt we improved from the Galway match.

"We made mistakes which cost us goals in that game so it was encouraging not to concede any goals against GMIT:

Referee, Shane Hehir, issued two black cards, one to Sligo's Charlie Harrison and the other to GMIT's Ronan Steede.

"I thought they were a bit harsh in the conditions but I understand the referee has a tough job in those conditions as well," said Flanagan.

"Charlie Harrison went to punch the ball away from his opponent and I don't think he deliberately dragged him to the ground."

Next Sunday's game is a repeat of last year's final.

Leitrim came out on top on that occasion and will be confident of repeating that result, given their form in the FBD to date.

"It will be another good game for us," said Flanagan.

"At this stage of the year, it's all about preparing for the National League."

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