Injury-hit Rovers head for Derry

Sligo Rovers travel to The Brandywell on Friday for their first away meeting of the season with Derry City.

After two games in The Showgrounds, which resulted in a win each, Rovers head to Derry looking for a third away win of the season.

The Bit o’ Red are stretched to the limit again in terms of squad numbers.

Adam Morgan, Regan Donelon, Gary Boylan and Raff Cretaro are out injured, while John Mahon and Jack Keaney serve one-game suspensions.

Patrick McClean returns from injury and suspension. Members of the Under-19 squad will be called into the squad again.

Gerard Lyttle said: “We’ve had a couple of clean sheets but we’re looking for much more from an attacking point of view.

“They have been tight games so far with Derry. Our second game was our poorest display of the season whereas we won the first game.  Our away record has been better than our home form, and I think the big pitch will suit us, and not just them, because they are obviously strong there.

“The pressure on us is there always – it’s one we that we put on ourselves   –  and Derry have had a couple of heavy defeats that they will be looking to respond to and there’ll be a big focus on them.

“We’re really looking forward to taking them on to be honest. We’ve been much better at restricting teams recently and we want to create more and have a go more at teams. That’s going to be in our approach.

“There is a difficulty given we are missing so many defenders and even some makeshift defenders, but we’ll get on with it.  We have faith in everyone we call upon in the squad.”

On John Mahon missing his first game since coming into team, Lyttle said: “He has gone out and put himself first on the teamsheet with his performances if we’re honest. That’s the standing he has moved to. If he keeps his head and keeps doing what he’s doing, he has a big future in the game and at Sligo Rovers.

“In a way it could be a blessing in disguise as he has played all these matches in the busiest time of the season and it’s not easy on an 18-year-old stepping up for the first time. It hasn’t affected him and he’s not one bit happy to be out this week. I know next week he’ll be determined to get back in but we can call on the likes of Seamus Sharkey who stays with us rather than Ellan Vannin at the CONIFA tournament.

“He really wanted to be involved with that but he knows Sligo Rovers has to be his number one priority, the club pays his wages at the end of the day.  I thought he did really well at right-back last week after a long time out and we may need to use him there again.”

Lyttle also said of Alan Reynolds, his counterpart at Waterford FC.

“Kevin Deery knows Alan going back a long time and I can see why he holds him in a high esteem.

“I’ve only got to know him this year in the league and he’s an absolute gem, a genetleman and his work in Waterford speaks volumes. You don’t expect such a shocking thing to happen and it really takes you aback.

“ We wish him well in his recovery and look forward to him making a return when fully recovered. Everyone at the club feels that way and sends him our best.”