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Hoops boss: our Squad's 'rock solid

Rovers won't rely on Europa income

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WILD ROVER: Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley Pic: Sportsfile

WILD ROVER: Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley Pic: Sportsfile

WILD ROVER: Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley Pic: Sportsfile

Stephen Bradley insists that Shamrock Rovers are not reliant on the income from European football to fund the team for next season as he plans to strengthen the Hoops squad for the 2019 campaign.

Rovers took a big step towards securing Europa League qualification in the last week, with back-to-back wins over Dundalk and Bray Wanderers.

Friday's 3-0 win away to Bray, combined with a 2-0 loss for Waterford away to St Patrick's Athletic, sees Rovers move ahead of the Blues in the table for the first time this season; the Hoops now in the top three.

As Rovers are out of the FAI Cup, they need a strong finish in the league to secure a place in Europe.

Target

Boss Bradley has warned that while they will enjoy their status in the top three, Rovers will have to battle hard to preserve that, with games against champions Cork City and Euro rivals Waterford to come.

"When you consider where we are, we are too far off the top two so our target had to be the team in front of us and that was Waterford," said Bradley.

That was and still is our target but there's a lot of games to be played, a lot of big games. We all have to play each other.

"At the start of the season you look at Europe as a target. I am sure Waterford, Derry and Pat's looked at it that way too.

"The top two are still the top two and we are all a bit off them. Europe was our aim but we still haven't had anything, we are ahead now but we have a lot of games to play. Waterford have to come to us."

Europa League football guarantees at least €210,000 to clubs. But while in the past teams have needed that money to build for the season ahead, Bradley says that Rovers are not depending on that UEFA money to revamp the squad.

"We have been talking to players for the last six weeks or so. Europe doesn't come into the budget so we have been planning, talking to players here and seeing how we can improve, we are well down the road with that," he said.

"We don't have many out of contract, this will be the first time we will have a settled squad going into next season, there won't be a lot of chopping and changing.

"I do have targets, it depends on whether they become available but I'd be looking at four or five players coming in.

"We have done what we have done the first two seasons so we don't have to keep doing it, now it's about adding players in the right areas of the pitch and hopefully we can do that," he added, pleased with his side in the win over bottom side Bray.

"We have been excellent for the best part of two or three months," added Bradley.

"We had a blip with Drogheda and Bohs, but if you look at the run they have been on, Europe included, they have been different class, we needed to get back to that last Tuesday and we did and followed it up on Friday.

"All credit to the players, we went to Waterford and they beat us, and it looked like we were out of it.

"We have caught them and gone ahead of them but there are still a lot of points to play for."


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