It’s early days in the title race, but already there are signs that Chris Forrester has the potential to stamp his class all over the campaign and turn St Patrick’s Athletic into genuine contenders again.
And Tim Clancy, the latest of four Saints managers whose job it is to get the most out of the mercurial Dubliner, is pleased to see that the 29-year-old is enjoying his football.
Forrester didn’t score in last week’s opening-night win away to Shelbourne, but he was superb in his midfield role, earning rave reviews for skill on the ball, including one moment where he toe-poked the ball through an opponent’s legs, on the edge of his own box.
“He’s certainly enjoying it and pulling off nutmegs like that at the edge of the box, I didn’t enjoy it as much but I did when it happened,” Clancy laughs. “You can see even when he’s taken down, he’s getting up and he’s laughing and smiling – and that’s the main thing you want for Chris, for him to enjoy the game.
“Chris’ ability, he can play anywhere really, he can play right off the front man or the deep one, higher up the pitch, left, right, his technical ability gives you those options. His quality on the ball is something that you want him on the ball as much as possible.
“When Chris started to get his foot on the ball in the second half last week, he started to control the tempo of the game, and that’s because he was in a deeper position. But against certain opposition and systems, he’ll be utilised in different ways. We’re really pleased as regards his output and energy, and ground he’s covered in the first three games,” added Clancy.
Liam Buckley was Forrester’s first manager at Richmond Park and the task for Buckley and his Sligo Rovers side will be to restrict the home side. Sligo are in action for the first time as last week’s home game to Bohemians fell victim of Storm Eunice.
Derry City’s game at home to Shamrock Rovers was a sell-out days before kick-off, a sign for assistant Alan Reynolds that there is a spring in City’s step.
“It’s been clear how much it means to people and that is really adding to the atmosphere. It’s similar to the last time I was here, when Stephen Kenny came back from Dunfermline. That support will really lift the players now too,” says Reynolds.
Bohemians fans will see their new signings like Jordan Doherty, Jordan Flores and prodigal son Kris Twardek for the first time tonight at home to Dundalk, and manager Keith Long is keen to excite.
“We hope to give supporters every reason to get behind the team, we want to get them excited about coming to watch this team play, and we will be doing everything we can to produce a team that supporters can be proud of.”