SSE Airtricity League

Sligo Rovers' opening away fixture against Derry moved to The Showgrounds

Sports Reporter

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Sports Reporter

Sligo Rovers to begin league campaign at home to Limerick

Sligo Rovers have confirmed their opening away fixture of the season, scheduled for February, February 23 will now take place in The Showgrounds as The Brandywell is unavailable while renovation works continue.

Reacting to the news that the Bit O'Red will now start the season with three home game Sligo Rovers Chairman Martin Heraghty said, "There is a challenge for us in that our supporters face three home games in nine days and we are keen to bring big crowds to The Showgrounds for our opening matches.

“In particular facing Derry on a Friday and Cork City on a Monday means a lot of cost for our fans over one weekend. These are two big matches.

“We also now face a period of one home league game in 10 weeks from July to September. We had a similar period last year and it caused significant problems financially, although there could be some FAI Cup games in the period depending on our progress. 

“But due to the circumstances, it was something we felt we had to agree to. We will plan, we will do our best and we will also use the quick fire run of home games to bring excitement to The Showgrounds.

“The #bitored3000 campaign is gathering pace. We want to bring life to The Showgrounds, the type of excitement we haven’t seen in a long time.  The season is upon us and we have a feast of football to look forward to in a short space of time. We will try to use the opening stage of it to our advantage.”

Manager Gerard Lyttle hoped the change of venue and starting the season with three home games can be a positive for his team.

"It’s a good thing hopefully. When you get the fixture list you want to start with a home game. You try to get a good crowd, your new players settle in. Now we have three to start with.

"I don’t think it adds an extra pressure to pick up results early on because that pressure is always there. It is pressure you put on yourself. It comes with the territory. 

"Likewise the run in August of a month of away matches in the league will be something we just have to tackle. 

"I wasn’t here for the first game last year obviously but it was everything you don’t want in an opening match.  

"It kills confidence and we’d like to build momentum and have our fans get to see a very different team to that day in Limerick. We’re working every moment of this pre-season to achieve it and see where it can take us for when the second and third games come around."