JAMES CHAMBERS believes that the new arrivals at Shamrock Rovers this season can deal with the weight of expectation that comes with playing for the club.
The Hoops are in action again, for the second time in the 2013 campaign, when they take on Coleraine tonight in the second leg of their Setanta Sports Cup first-round tie (Live on Setanta Ireland).
Rovers need to overhaul a 1-0 deficit from the home leg as a new-look Hoops side, with six new signings playing under a new manager, began the new term with a defeat.
The six 'new' faces who started against Coleraine last week are technically old boys as all six (Barry Murphy, Jason McGuinness, Sean O'Connor, Mark Quigley, Karl Sheppard and Chambers) have previously had spells with the Hoops, Chambers winning a league title there in the 2010 season.
"I have been here before so I know what it takes to play for a club like Shamrock Rovers," says Chambers, who rejoins the Hoops after spells with Hamilton Academical and St Patrick's Athletic.
"The fans here are fantastic but they also have massive expectations and that's part of the territory when you come to a club like Rovers. I think it's a positive factor that so many of the players who have just joined the club have been here before, we all know the score.
"That's something we can draw on ahead of this game in Coleraine tonight. We are taking the Setanta Cup very seriously. There is no one at the club saying we'd be happy to drop out of the competition this early to avoid problems with fixtures down the road. We are in it to win it and we have to show that up in Coleraine tonight.
"We all know that Rovers didn't win a trophy last season, so it's up to this group of players now to try and put that right, and if we can get through to the next round of the Setanta then our aim will be to go all the way and win it," added former U21 cap Chambers.
Rovers need to overcome that 1-0 loss from the first leg to advance, but Chambers admits that they challenge could have been even tougher. "Being honest, we could have lost the home game 2-0 as Coleraine had a great chance late on," he says.
"We were poor enough in the first half at home to Coleraine, we improved in the second half but still lost the game, so we know now what we have to do."
Chambers stole a march on some of his team-mates by earning a place in the starting XI last week but he knows that pressure for places will be intense, especially in midfield.
"We have so many lads who can play in there, lads like Conor McCormack, Stephen Rice, Shane Robinson can all come in there. We could play Mark Quigley in front of the midfield, we have so many options for the manager to use that it's going to be hard to get a game," he added.
Boss Trevor Croly has a full squad to pick from tonight. "We're expecting a tough game, it'll be a real test for us," says Croly.