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Monday 22 April 2019

Buckley adamant 'underachieving' Rovers will improve

David Cawley of Sligo Rovers. Pic: Donal Hackett
David Cawley of Sligo Rovers. Pic: Donal Hackett

Jessica Farry

After a difficult eight days that saw Rovers lose three games, including their league cup defeat to Finn Harps, manager Liam Buckley is remaining positive as his side faces a tough run of fixtures.

You may not think it looking at Saturday night's result, but there was an improvement from Rovers compared with previous games, but Ronan Murray's dismissal didn't help matters.

Buckley said afterwards: "We felt that we were probably marginally on top at that stage, the sending off disrupted things for us.

"Our general play was better tonight. The sending off had a serious impact on how we did. In saying that, they got fortunate with the goal he's kicked it and it's hit his head and looped in over the keeper.

"They passed it well in the second-half and then they were down to ten but it wasn't enough."

With fans more encouraged by the first-half showing from Rovers, Buckley too was on the same page. He wants to see that same desire from his players in every game.

"It was definitely better. We had the ball in their half a bit more. In relation to where we're at I thought for 40 odd minutes there wasn't a lot in it.

" The sending off had a big baring on it. We had to re-jig at half-time. The way things are for us at the minute if they can go bad, they have gone bad.

"They've bagged a second goal when we had ten men and when it was 10 v 10 there wasn't a lot in it . We just have to take the positives out of tonight.

"The positive from tonight is that when we are at it there is a better energy and drive about the team. We've got Dundalk next week and then Waterford which is a big weekend for us baring in mind that we are acutely aware that we are in the bottom two.

"We need to get out of there as quickly as possible."

Murray will now more than likely miss three games as a result of his red card, which leaves Buckley frustrated as he was close to having a full squad to choose from for the first time.

The constant injuries mean that Buckley also feels he has not been able to pick his strongest XI just yet, and it may not yet even be clear what that best XI is.

"This is the first week we've had nearly everyone in training bar Ed McGinty.

"It is disappointing. It is a stupid sending off from his end and I'm sure he regrets it but we just have to move on.

"It has been difficult. We have to juggle it around quite a bit each week.

"I'd say we haven't had two games where we've kept the same team since we've been here, including ore-season.

"That said, we've got everybody back in training bar Ed who will be out for another week.

"It's just good to have everyone back in training, we just have one or two who are still working fitness wise after injuries in pre-season. There's a better performance in this team.

"We have underachieved at this moment in time.

"We just have to knuckle down and keep at it. Take that first half performance into Dundalk next week and see where it goes."

Rovers are now second bottom in the table, having lost five out of their eight games.

Buckley knows that there is still work to be done.

"There is a lot of work to be done. League tables don't lie. If we put in that sort of effort that we did in the first-half, they're third in the table.

"UCD are decent, Finn Harps are decent, there's no easy games here. There's not a lot in these games.

"We just need to get the spotlight off us for poor results.

"I know we've said we're a work in progress, and I am still working to see what the best 11 is, what way we're trying to play and what shape.

"We need to find that quickly because where we are in the league table is not where we want to be. "

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