Shamrock Rovers head coach, Stephen Bradley gave this update before Friday’s league opener away v Bohemian F.C.
“It was great in Portugal, we got to play some good games and got to do some good training so a really good ten days. The selling point for us going was that we knew we’d be playing against some really good teams and we felt that’s what we needed going into the season, so we were really happy with it. That [physicality] is what we’re going to facetomorrowand next week and the week after, so when we were offered the trip a while back we looked at the level of opposition and the type of play and style they had.
It was great to be together for the ten days. The players get to know each other even more and they’re living out of each other’s pockets. They have to face each other every day so from that aspect it was great. Sean Boyd scored a great goal over there [against Norrkoping]. Sean was just unfortunate last year with his shoulder surgery and when we came back after that he had a stomach problem. He missed most of last year so I think this year you’ll see a different Sean. He looks back to himself.
Whatever the other teams have done in terms of their squads and players, we just concentrate on what we’re doing and we believe that we’re in a stronger place than we were last year. We’ve got to go and show that now on the pitch but there wasn’t much change this year and we’re really happy where we are. We looked at how we can improve as a team and as a squad and I think we’ve done that with the people we’ve brought in.
We know we have to start better than we did last year. We dropped too many points in the first round of games and we can’t do that again this year. It obviously left us well off the top two points wise come the end of the season so we know we have to start right.
You always look forward to the first game of the season but this is Bohs away. It’s a Dublin Derby, it’s a sell out and we should bring a great crowd. If this game doesn’t whet your appetite then you shouldn’t be involved in football and that applies to everyone, player, fan, coach or whatever. It’s going to be a tough game. Bohs are good at what they do and we know what to expect. We went there last year and won and we’ll be looking to do that againtomorrownight. The lads are really looking forward to it. We’re ready to go.
Gary Shaw’s injury [in October] was so bad at the time it was touch and go whether he’d play again. That’s how bad it was. Gary has recovered really well and he hasn’t missed any of pre-season, he’s been flying and it’s great to have him back. Aside from Trevor Clarke [suspended] everyone is fine to play. I think we’re really strong at left-back. Luke Byrne and Ally Gilchrist can play there and Joey O’Brien has played at full-back most of his career.”