Monday 10 December 2018

Lyttle: "Win will give us a massive confidence boost"

David Goulden

Having steered his team to a first league win in six, Sligo Rovers boss Ger Lyttle says confidence is key as the Bit O'Red look to build on their second win of the season over Derry City ahead of Saturday's game with Cork.

Rovers had failed to find the net in the previous three leading up to last Friday's victory, with the Bit O'Red struggling to conjure up the chances in front of goal.

But Lyttle is adamant that self-belief was the difference for his side, who picked up what was just their fifth win in twenty league games.

The Brandywell battle was also the third outing on the spin in which goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney kept a clean sheet.

"Certain people won't agree with me but our performance levels have been there the last few weeks", Ger stated.

"But let's be honest, what's been missing is goals and chances. Tonight, we were excellent in terms of creating chances and to be honest we were disappointed at half-time to only go in at one nil.

"I thought we definitely deserved to be at least two up.

"We played all the football, pressed the life out of them, our energy levels were different class and defensively, it's our third clean sheet in a row so I'm really pleased with that.

"If we keep clean sheets in this league, we have a chance and if we can score goals, we can win a lot more games than we have."

The Rovers manager was also pleased, not just with the manner of the win but the way his players saw out the game following Lewis Morrsion's strike early in the second half.

"I'm going to have a meeting with the board this week and ask them can we put an astro in the Showgrounds if we can play like that!", he jokes.

"But I see it every day.

"Our training sessions are built on passing and moving and it's a confidence thing too, no doubt about it.

"Our confidence levels were really high tonight and we played some lovely football.

"When we should have played, we played. When we didn't play, we managed the game well and on another night we could have had three or four."

The former Cliftonville boss spoke of his pleasure in witnessing two firsts for Morrison, who netted both his maiden senior career and club goal with a well taken finish on 48 minutes.

"That's been coming", Lyttle declared.

"He's missed a great chance against Limerick and against Shams.

"If he continues to get those chances, then the goal was always going to come.

"Again, it's a confidence thing. He makes great runs and links well with others. But I thought everyone was on it tonight.

"We wanted to win and needed to win this one.

"Hopefully it will give us a massive confidence boost.

"We can't get too ahead of ourselves obviously so we'll get back to the nitty-gritty at the start of the week and look to Cork."

One major lowlight was the injury to Gary Boylan who underwent a scan at the weekend on a knee injury which could potentially keep him out for the foreseeable future.

Concerned for his full back, Lyttle explained: "We'll know more in a few days.

"It might be a medial ligament and that's not good.

"But hopefully it isn't. We've been down a lot of bodies of late and to lose Gary for a long time would be a blow."

The injury list at the Showgrounds hasn't been helped by the departure of loanee Calum Waters who returned to Kilmarnock after the recent draw with Limerick.

Another loanee whose term is set to come to an end is goalkeeper Beeney.

But Lyttle is quietly confident Rovers can keep hold of the Leeds native once his Chelsea contract runs out at the end of the month.

"We're talking to him and hopefully we'll have some good news in the next few days", he said.

"Mitchell loves it here and he's coming into his own.

"You can see his maturity building as the games go on. He has unbelievable attributes so hopefully we'll have something on that this week."

Lyttle also confirmed that the club had received an offer from Linfield for striker Greg Moorhouse.

The Belfast giants are understood to have made a sizeable cash offer but the former Glenavon attacker was reluctant to return to the Irish League.

"Linfield were very interested in Greg but it hasn't materialised", Lyttle says.

"He's shown great dedication to the team and he's shown that tonight when he came on.

"He's professional in what he's done.

"A club have come in for him and that can play with his head but it hasn't.

"He's a Sligo Rovers player and he'll be dedicated to us until he's told otherwise."

Next up for Rovers is the visit of double champions and title chasers Cork City.

The Bit O'Red will look to push on with their rediscovered scoring form but may have to do once more without top-scorer Adam Morgan who has only started twice since the beginning of May.

Giving an update on the Liverpudlian's situation, Ger says: "He got a scan last week and now we're trying to build him up as quickly as possible.

"We don't know in terms of the Cork game but he's made huge improvements so we'll get some more work done with him this week."

Sligo Champion