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Stephen Bradley gave his team news briefing in advance of Friday’s game away v Waterford F.C.
How great was it for the players to feel the presence of Rovers supporters against Finn Harps after being without them for so long?
“It was brilliant. I think you could see that it had an effect on the players in terms of the energy that was brought to the game. The atmosphere, although it was only a thousand, but it genuinely felt like a lot more. It was unbelievable to have them back and I was delighted to see them there.”
Was it the perfect start to the game with the early Aaron Greene goal and the crowd didn’t have to wait long to cheer their first goal?
“It was a good start. We started the game really well, like the whole first half. We played well and obviously got the goal and possibly should have had a couple more in the first half.”
Were you frustrated with the manner of the goal the team conceded?
“It’s a really poor goal from our point of view but it was coming from them. We started the second half really poorly and allowed Finn Harps back into the game which we should never have done. But we did and we got punished so it’s something that we have to learn from.”
You responded by bringing on Graham Burke for his 100th club appearance. How is Graham fitness wise and how nice was it to hit that milestone?
“Graham has been doing well considering this week is the first week that he has trained in over a month. So, we had to be very careful with him last week and he didn’t start the game, but I’m delighted that he got on the pitch. It’s a brilliant milestone and hopefully there’s many more of those games to come from Graham.”
We laid siege to the Harps goal in the second half and their goalkeeper pulled off a great save but were they difficult to break down?
“No, I think if you watch the game back, we created a lot of chances. I don’t think it was the case that we couldn’t break them down – we did – we just couldn’t finish the opportunities that we created. Sometimes that happens. I think the players in the first half and from the end of the second half, the last 30 minutes of the game, were very good and created chances. We just didn’t take one of them.”
To be top of the table after 15 games played, although there were two losses, are you happy where we are at the moment in terms of performances and points tally?
“We’re really happy. You have to look at the last month where we’ve been down a lot of bodies, and we’ve played some difficult games in that period. We’re really happy with the players and where we are. We know we can get better but it’s a good return. We’re top of the league and it’s time now to push on and build on that.”
Will Waterford be dangerous and on a high after their first win in a couple of months in Dundalk?
“They’re on the back of a really good win and good performance and I’m sure their confidence will be high. We’ve got to be ready for that and respect that, which I’m sure we will. They have some good players in the attacking part of the pitch, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready for the best Waterford.”
Is it good to have Pico Lopes back from international duty and are any of our injured players nearly back to full recovery?
“It’s great to have Pico back in, having been away last week. He’s had a full week’s training. Sean Kavanagh and Ronan Finn are back which is great. Dylan Watts and Joey O’Brien aren’t too far away so we’re getting there on the injury front. “
Kick off is at 1945.