Did the team need to show great character to grind out that hard fought win on Friday?
“We did, as I said after the game that to be successful you need to have so many different aspects to your game. You need to be able to play and you need to be able to grind out results, and we did that on Friday. We weren’t really poor by any stretch of the imagination. Sligo were good and we were OK but we showed character, togetherness and understanding to see the game out.”
Are those sort of wins just as important throughout a season if you’re going to win silverware, when you don’t play at your best against a good side?
“Exactly, when you’re not at your best you try and make sure you don’t lose the game but you want to win it, obviously. Sligo were good and we weren’t at our best but we still come away with the win, and that’s important. Over the course of the season you’re going to have four or five games like that where you just hope you do enough to get the win, like we did on Friday.”
Sligo made it difficult for us with their press and made a number of chances in the first half, plus we had a few nervy moments at the end. What did you think of their performance on the night?
“Sligo did exactly what we felt they would do. We knew they could play like that and for different reasons, we were off it, both in and out of possession. You have to give credit to Sligo for some of that, of course, but we were a little bit off it and a yard or two short in our pressing. As a result, we left spaces far too big and Sligo took full advantage of that.”
Johnny Kenny and Trevor Clarke took their goals really well so was the way we were clinical with our chances a big positive?
“It was because we’ve had games this year where we’ve had 15 or 20 attempts on goal and we’ve drawn the game, so it’s good to see the last few weeks that we’ve been very clinical in front of goal. It was two good finishes by Johnny and Trevor.”
And the impact your subs Richie Towell and Aaron Greene made, does that give you something to ponder for your team selection on Monday, especially with the schedule after a tough game?
“We trust everyone in the squad and we saw last year that everyone played their part. Whether they’re starting or coming off the bench, we know everybody plays their part at some point in the season. Richie and Aaron were excellent when they came on, as was Darragh Nugent. They gave us real energy when they came on but we know from experience that everyone in the squad will play their part.”
You’ve said that Sean Gannon, Sean Kavanagh and Dylan Watts won’t be ready for at least a week but are Ronan Finn, Rory Gaffney, Simon Power and Liam Burt involved on Monday, and are there any suspensions?
“Rory, Simon and Ronan all came through today so they’ll be involved. Liam will probably be Friday or after but we’re getting there. Dylan is probably the longest out of all of them but the rest are getting there. We have a few that are close to missing the next game with yellow cards but no suspensions.”
Derry are the only team to beat Rovers this season despite a good home performance that night. How much is everyone looking forward to the rematch?
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s not a great surface but it’s a big pitch with two good teams so we’re looking forward to going there, performing and hopefully win the game.”
Our league meetings often only have one goal in them, or they’re won and lost by a single goal and decided by a bit of quality or a mistake. Is it about coming out on the right side of that?
“They’re usually tight games like the last game in Tallaght, we made a couple of mistakes and we got punished. Games between us and Derry are usually decided on the small details and the fine margins, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re focused and ready from the first minute, and hope that those small margins go our way.”
A number of managers have expressed concerns with the Brandywell pitch this season. Is that something you have thought about as well?
“We all know that the pitch isn’t good but there’s no excuses. We’re lucky that at Roadstone we can train on an astro turf before we play them. I think everyone is in agreement that it’s not a good surface but it is what it is, and you have to go and play on it.”