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Magilton looks to Anfield ‘work ethic’ for inspiration

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Jim Magilton wants his Dundalk players to 'earn the right' to play.

Jim Magilton wants his Dundalk players to 'earn the right' to play.

Jim Magilton

Jim Magilton

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Jim Magilton wants his Dundalk players to 'earn the right' to play.

More than 30 years on from his own departure from Anfield, Liverpool FC still have a mark left on Jim Magilton as he tries to plot a course out of crisis for his Dundalk side.

And while the team’s interim manager has again confirmed that he is not in contention to take over on a permanent basis, Magilton is  content to be involved in a recruitment process which he says will last for a while as “we don't see anything changing for the next couple of weeks anyway”.  

He knows that even this early in the season, Dundalk are running out of time  and out of games.

Defeat at home to Sligo Rovers tonight – and Dundalk’s home form is poor with just one win in four at Oriel Park – would see the FAI Cup holders left nine points behind a third-placed Sligo. 

Looking down the table, they are just four points off the relegation zone and Magilton admits that scrapping at the bottom is unusual territory for players more accustomed to league titles.

"This is a group that has been used to success and they are probably not used to this,” he says. "It's amazing how confidence can ebb away through not winning games.

"But I can feel that there are improvements and definitely confidence is lifting in this group. However, we are not where we want to be.

"It's that old adage. I was very lucky as a young boy to go to Liverpool and watch it every day," added Magilton, who was at Anfield from 1986-1990, without making the first team.

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“It was like, earn the right to play, it was said before every game, earn the right to play, never disrespect the opposition, focus on our strengths and we will always be about that.

"But the bare minimum you expect of a pro footballer is work ethic.

"I'm not saying for one second that they are not working hard but you have to meet the opposition, every team in the league has a terrific work ethic and spirit. And you have to be able to meet that and come out the other side with the quality you have.

"If you are not strong enough or are not a strong enough character to go out there every week, then it's very difficult. But it shows your mental character to do that and the big characters in our dressing room have to stand up and be counted.”

To that end, Magilton has set the side a target of a 10-game winning run: “There is no rest period for us. You need to win ten games on the trot if we can, starting tonight, and Sligo will have a big say in that, they will come and stand up to us and we have to stand up to them.”


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