Bradley insists Rovers 'in a better place' ahead of Waterford clash
AHEAD of tonight's trip to the south east, Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley feels his outfit are a different animal from the side which struggled on Suirside at the start of the season.
Second-placed Rovers have a chance to reduce the gap between themselves and Dundalk to just four points as they face a struggling Waterford side at the RSC, with the live TV cameras on site, though after tonight Dundalk will still have two games in hand.
The Hoops, who sold forward Dan Carr to Cypriot club Apollon Limassol last week, kept up their title challenge with a 2-0 win away to Derry City.
They have had to work hard at times this season, like the opening game of the campaign where came from a goal down to win 2-1, in added time, but Bradley is proud of their improvement.
"We came from behind to win down there in the first game of the season but I think we're in a better place than where we were then in terms of how we're playing. Hopefully we can bring that form with us tonight," he said.
Bradley was pleased with his side's ability to deliver a win, under pressure, away to Derry on Friday.
"It was really good football for our second goal. We worked it down the left and eventually Seán Kavanagh plays it down to Aaron Greene, a one-two with Jack Byrne and another assist for him. It was a great finish by Aaron, he showed tremendous power and pace to get away from the centre-half," said the Hoops boss.
Meanwhile, a number of clubs have paid tribute to Tony Izzi after he passed away at the age of 48. The Dublin-born player was playing in the Italian lower leagues when he was spotted by Shelbourne and he joined the Reds in 1993. After his spell at Shels he lined out for St Patrick's Athletic, Limerick, Athlone Town, Dundalk and Cobh Ramblers.
"Shelbourne FC is saddened to hear the death of Shels legend Antonio Izzi, who scored a famous goal against Karpaty Lviv, to qualify us for the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1993. We'd like to send our condolences to his family and friends," the club said in a statement.
"Cobh Ramblers are very saddened to hear of the passing of former striker Tony Izzi," added the Munster club.
Elsewhere, Bohemians boss Keith Long hopes that Friday's record-breaking win over UCD was a sign that his side is back on track.
A return of one win from six games had caused Bohs to drop out of the top three but they have found their scoring touch of late, with a 3-2 win over Shelbourne in the FAI Cup followed by Friday's 10-1 demolition of UCD.
"I hope that is more like the real us," says Long, whose side is back in action tonight when they face Dundalk in the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup, where Derry City await the winners.
"Friday was a great night for us, some good attacking play, we capitalised on the opportunities that we created and had two goals at half time," said Long.
"We asked the boys to go for it again in the second half and they got their rewards.
"It was all pleasing but it was great to see Danny Mandroiu get a hat-trick, it's good to see your No. 1 hit double figures for goals, and it was great to see Keith Ward and Ross Tierney come off the bench," added Long.