Adams relishes challenge of turning Sligo’s season around

Rovers face Dundalk in tonight’s cup clash having drawn at Oriel Park last week

Having done better than most in Dundalk last week when they twice came from behind to take a point, Sligo Rovers head back to Oriel Park this evening aiming to go one better in the FAI Cup. Micky Adams is pretty dismissive about his side's history in the competition being a factor but at least, he says, the visitors can stop worrying about the

relegation battle for a night.

“I think we can forget about how we’re doing in the league, although I think we’ve shown over the last few weeks that we can give anyone a game on our day and hopefully we’ll show that again [tonight].

Cup team

“But listen, you’ve heard it all before I’m sure and I’ve heard it since I’ve come here; Sligo are a cup team, blah, blah, blah . . . It doesn’t matter what the team has done in the past . . . We’re not that good, so we have to turn up every week and perform to get results, because if we don’t, we’ll get beat.”

It’s typically frank stuff from a man who, 10 years ago, was managing in the Premier League and enjoyed his last significant success in England only two seasons ago when he guided Port Vale to promotion, despite the fiercely challenging financial situation at the club.

More recently, at Tranmere, he took over a cobbled together squad with the task of saving them from relegation, something that, despite an initial improvement, ultimately proved to be beyond him.

It was, he admits, the most difficult time of his career. “It was, yeah,” he says. “I went in under difficult circumstances, and in the end what was shown was that the team wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t good enough to stay in the league. So I’m not going to walk away from that, I’m not going to hide from it; it’s on my CV, but I didn’t put that side together.”

He needed to get beyond it being the last thing on his CV and says given the competition for jobs, he was glad to get the opportunity at Sligo where, he says, he is enjoying being back on the training ground.

His brief is pretty much the same at the Showgrounds as at Tranmere. He hasn’t put the Sligo squad together either, but so far it’s going pretty well. Rovers are unbeaten in four, with two wins against lesser teams and two draws again top four sides. Now it’s back to the cup and Dundalk, who are bound to have an eye on a possible double.

“I can see why they are the best team in Ireland at this moment in time,” he says of Stephen Kenny’s men. “They’re a big, strong, powerful unit; they’re well organised, the manager’s got them well drilled, and individually they’ve got some good players as well, so I can see why they’re doing so well.

Positive mentality

“That said, I would imagine that a lot of teams go to Dundalk, sit behind the ball and wait to get beat, but that’s never been my mentality in football. I want to be positive, I want my team to be positive and we’ll continue with that policy on Friday.”

He acknowledges Sligo are still deep in relegation trouble, but their current form would certainly keep them up if maintained. He says he doesn’t really know what has changed as he had never seen them play before he arrived, but he insists the dressing room is united now, something that didn’t seem to be the case early in the campaign.

“I’ve always said that a football club’s as good as its senior professionals,” says the 53- year-old, who has an open mind regarding his longer future and Sligo, “and I’ve got to tell you that your Peerss, your Clancys, your Keanes, your Russells and Cretaros at Sligo are first-class professionals. If the younger pros can look up to them and achieve as much as they have in the game in Ireland, then they’ll have good careers.”

As for good cup runs, we’ll know more after tonight.

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