Rovers return to action with Dundalk trip

Sligo Rovers face Dundalk in Oriel Park on Friday night in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.

Rovers responded from the defeat to Bohemians last weekend by beating Waterford FC in the EA Sports Cup to progress to the semi-finals.

Dundalk were 2-0 winners in the reverse fixture but Rovers were left to rue some missed chances and defensive lapses that cost them on the night.

In team news, Michael Schlingermann remains unavailable having again been unable to train this week because of a neck complaint. He is the only absentee.

Adam Morgan returned from a three-week lay-off by making a substitute appearance against Waterford. Seamus Sharkey is also fit again.

Home form has been a problem for the Bit O’ Red but on the road it has been a better story with two wins and two draws from six matches and narrow 1-0 defeats to Shamrock Rovers and Cork City.

Gerard Lyttle said: “There was a lot of negativity after the defeat to Bohemians and rightly so. I think the criticism of the performance was somewhat harsh and people jumped on that but we haven’t done enough to win the game and we didn’t create anywhere near enough to win the game. It’s something we have to improve on. Bohs had two shots and scored two goals so we were punished for not getting the goal when we were having the better of it.

“It was good to get back on the horse against Waterford. We got the all important goal but should have had more and the Waterford goalkeeper had a terrific game. It was encouraging to create those chances. Things have been very up and down and we have a new team, a young team, and maybe that’s going to be the case. We’re in the semi-final of the first Cup available and we’re building. Finding the consistency is the hardest thing because up to the Bohs game we were putting a little run together.

“For me Dundalk are the benchmark for League of Ireland clubs in terms of squads, style of football, their manager. It’s where we want to be. I felt in the previous meeting the teams were well matched and we made errors to concede the goals which we’ve tried to cut out. We need to be solid throughout on Friday and ensure any mistake Dundalk makes counts for us.

“It’s not ideal to have so many games in the short space of time but at least we were able to move on from last weekend. Some players gave us things to think about in terms of selection. Adam also returned to get minutes under his belt although we have to make sure not to put too much on him at once in a short space of time after the spell out.”