Sligo Rovers keen to press home advantage against Rosenborg

Rovers poised for Europa League qualifier success at the Showgrounds

Barely a month after taking over at the Showgrounds, John Coleman has the opportunity to orchestrate one of the ground's most memorable nights this evening. Last week's 2-1 victory in Trondheim was the first ever secured by Sligo Rovers on the road in Europe; now even a 1-0 defeat would go down as one of their biggest home successes.

Rosenborg may not be dominating Norwegian football the way they did when they beat Shelbourne and Bohemians comfortably in European ties but they are still formidable.

They would have known that making it to the group stages this year was going to take a bit of doing but they must still be surprised to find themselves scrapping for Europa League survival this early and shocked to find themselves having to score at least twice and win at the Showgrounds where they might have been expecting to let their hosts chase the game. The club’s board certainly seems to have taken it badly with manager Per Joar Hansen shown the door on Monday and former Norwegian international Kare Ingebrigtsen set to oversee the team’s attempt to rescue the situation.

Coleman plays down the significance of it all, suggesting the visitors are bound to improve on last week regardless of the managerial situation but, he feels, Rovers might just step things up a notch or two as well.


“It’s still very much in the balance,” he says. “They’re a good team and they’ll be smart about what they have to do now to get themselves back into it.

“You’d expect some sort of response but then we could play a little bit better than we did last week and that’s what we hope to do.” Rovers’ determination to push on after scoring their first goal was one of the most impressive aspects of last week’s performance and the hosts have little option but to be as positive this evening.

“We’ve got an ethos about the way we want to play and we’ve been trying to get that across to the players and you can’t just suddenly change that to suit the circumstances that arise in one game.

“I think the players were happy to be encouraged to attack last week and I think that will be an important part of what we have to do in the second leg.”

The stand-in Rosenborg coach has, of course, much the same squad to work with in the second leg although Coleman expects United States midfielder Mix Diskerud, who impressed after coming on after 71 minutes last Thursday and started at the weekend after having recently returned from the World Cup, to feature more prominently tonight.

The Sligo manager has a few problems of his own with Joseph Ndo, Jeff Henderson, Rafaelle Cretaro and Aaron Greene all ruled out by injury.

Danny Ledwith is back in contention, though, after training yesterday for the first time since limping out of the away win with a groin strain and Gavin Peers is available for selection.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times