Stephen Bradley gave this squad update in advance of Friday’s league game v Sligo Rovers on Friday, kick off at 8pm in Tallaght Stadium:
“It was a really big win for us [in Waterford]. Especially considering what we’d been through during the week in terms of playing extra-time on Thursday and the travel. We did our best to recover in terms of rest, sleep and food but the boys are really professional. There were always going to be tired bodies with the short of amount of time between the two games. We obviously knew that going down and it was just about staying in the game and waiting for a chance. We’d a lot more chances than I thought we’d have considering the week we’d had. The boys showed tremendous character to go and win the game. We knew it was a big game and the lads played like that, they put in an unbelievable shift.
The squad is strong and we needed to have a look at it, putting a little bit of freshness into the team without changing too much on the pitch. The three [outfield] players that came in were really good.
Alan Mannus has had to be patient. But he understands that Gavin Bazunu has come in and done brilliantly. He’s respected that and just kept his head down and worked hard. Gavin had a little bit of a knock so it was important that we didn’t take any chances and having someone of Alan’s quality ready to go it was an easy decision. The rest of the boys feel confident with him because they know what he brings to the team.
I know the Akinade one was brave and good goalkeeping but I think the Hery one was a really good save because they’re ones we’ve been conceding, and he just catches it like it’s a routine save. That’s what he does, he’s a top keeper. He guarantees you points.
It was a good header by Gary Shaw. He’s had to be patient as well. He’s been really professional behind the scenes, working hard. He’s been a proper teammate in the dressing room. He’s been harshly done by on a lot of occasions, not being in squads. All you can ask of players is when the chance is given to them, they’re ready. He took his chance and he could have scored another one just after that when he broke through two defenders. He was excellent when he came on.
I was actually worried when he went down injured beforehand because you’re always worried about his arm again. But he came over to the touchline and said he’s fine. He just looked in the mood on Sunday. When he’s that aggressive and hungry he’s a handful. There’s been a lot of interest in Gary from teams here and up the north in the last four weeks. Any interest I’ve had I’ve always brought it to Gary and told him who they are and what they’re saying. All the players deserve that respect.
But he was adamant that he wanted to fight for his place. As a manager that’s all you can ask for. I spoke to Tomer Chencinski and it was a fairly straight forward conversation. There weren’t going to be many games for him, Gavin and Alan have come in so he was down in the pecking order. At his age and at this stage of his career he needed to play so we thought it was best for everyone he moved on.
Ethan Boyle’s injury was a strange one, he tackled with his right foot but his left foot got caught in the turf and he went back on it. We’ve had it scanned and we’re just waiting for the results. We’ll have to see how he is in the morning in terms of training because it was a bad one. It’s unlike Ethan first of all to come off and then afterwards he was saying it was really sore. Usually he just gets on with it but hopefully he recovers in time.
Joey O’Brien is out, he injured himself in the warm up down in Waterford. He was still struggling from the game in Sweden and tried to get through the warm up and couldn’t.
I think Sligo is going to be a tough game. They have attacking players in that part of the pitch that can hurt you. They’ve some good players, [ex-hoops striker] Mikey Drennan coming back is a threat. We know Mikey is a good footballer and he can finish. We need to make sure that we’re fully focused and respect them. I think we’ve been on a really good run of form for quite a while now, we’re defending well and creating chances so hopefully we can continue that tomorrow night. Our new signings [Dylan Watts and Aaron Greene] have added a new dimension to us and made us stronger. We need to do what we did in Sweden and Waterford because that’s what it will take to win.”