Rovers vs Derry - Martin Interview
Liam Martin has seen both sides of the coin when it comes to Sligo Rovers.
He was involved during the glory years of Paul Cook and Ian Baraclough and now after a spell with Ballinamallard he is in his second season back in the Showgrounds and Liam Martin wants to help the club get back to challenging for major honours:
“When I was asked to sign back by Dave Robertson last year I was happy for the chance to come back to where I started and I feel that it has gone well as under Dave I was playing regularly. And that's what I wanted when I came down to have a fresh start and to get as much game time as possible. But also, I want to help the club win things. I know how much that would mean to supporters.
"In my first spell here it was a given that we would challenge for major honours and win trophies, we were that used to winning things. Now looking at the squad we have and the average age of the players here I definitely think the future is looking bright for this club and that we can back to those glory days.”
Rovers boosted their chances of silverware by beating Finn Harps 1-0 on Easter Monday to book a quarter-final spot against Galway United in the EA Sports Cup. The game though was over-shadowed by the injuries picked up by three of the Harps players and Martin while pleased with the result hopes the three players – BJ Banda, Harry Doherty and Packie Mailey – will be back playing as soon as possible:
“Yeah definitely the injuries over-shadowed the game and you never like to see players getting injured. I just hope that they won't be out for long and will be back playing soon, they are all important players for Harps and I'd like to send them my best wishes. We went up there with the mentally to get the win and get through the next round. I thought it was a professional performance and that the young lads who came in for their debuts did really well and that gave us a good building block to go on and get the result. I was delighted for Matty Stevens as well as that goal will do him the World of good and now we have a home quarter-final which is all you could ask for.”
Rovers now face another North-West side Derry City in the Showgrounds this coming Saturday evening and Martin feels that the Harps win can give them some momentum going into the game as well creating extra competition for starting places:
“Definitely there will be increased competition to get into the team which is what you want. The boys who played on Monday have been working hard in training to get the chance and it is to their credit that they stayed focused and helped us progress. We know that there will be a new manager coming in at some point so that means everything is up in the air and that we all have to keep as sharp as possible so that we can make our case for when he is appointed. I feel that our form has taken a turn and is changing for the better. We are a good side. We know as well that for different reasons Derry's form has dipped and isn't what they had expected. We need to capitalise on that and take all three points. I think if we had kept 11 on the pitch against Shams we would have definitely taken a point maybe even three. A lapse of concentration cost us for the goal but on the whole we played very well.”
Martin is hoping that there will be a good crowd in attendance on Saturday night as he knows how much of a difference it can make to the players when the Showgrounds is full:
“To be fair we know that Derry will bring a good crowd with them on Saturday and also as well our own supporters will be out in force especially with this being a North-West derby. It can really help bring the best out of players when there is a big crowd and the supporters are getting behind us. It is so important and can make a difference. We want to bring back the glory days and give the fans something to cheer about.”