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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019
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'We all want him to do well because he's such a great lad and such a great player'

Sligo Rovers welcome champions Cork City to the Showgrounds tonight following Friday’s win over Derry City.

Adam Morgan pictured in Europa League action for Liverpool against Hearts in 2012, and after his move to Sligo Rovers was announced last month.
Adam Morgan pictured in Europa League action for Liverpool against Hearts in 2012, and after his move to Sligo Rovers was announced last month.
Image: Martin Rickett/Michael Melly

SLIGO ROVERS MANAGER Gerard Lyttle was delighted to see Adam Morgan open his account for the club in Friday night’s victory over Derry City.

Morgan gave Rovers the lead in the 76th minute of the 2-1 win at the Showgrounds, poking the ball home from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

“Adam Morgan just kept going until he got his goal. That’s the type of goal he preys on,” Lyttle said afterwards.

On-loan Hearts forward Ally Roy doubled Sligo’s advantage six minutes later, before Ronan Curtis scored what merely proved to be a consolation goal from the Candystripes.

Lyttle will be hoping that Morgan’s goal will go down as the first of many for the 23-year-old striker at his new club, following his arrival from Halifax Town last month.

Once dubbed ‘the next Robbie Fowler’ due to his goalscoring exploits at underage level for Liverpool, Morgan made three first-team appearances for his hometown club in the Europa League at the age of just 18.

Morgan’s career hasn’t lived up to expectations in the meantime — as he explained in a recent interview with The42 – but he’s keen for his move to Sligo to act as a catalyst for change.

“That’s the important thing for a centre-forward when the season starts; to get off the mark,” said Gerard Lyttle. “We all want him to do well because he’s such a great lad and such a great player. He’s such a great goalscorer but we have a good team there.”

Lyttle was full of praise for his side overall after they bounced back from their opening-weekend defeat at home to Limerick. The Sligo boss started with seven new signings, with on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney and defender Patrick McClean handed debuts.

He said: “The boys were at it from the start after last week’s disappointing result. Even in training, I thought the tempo was excellent all week and we put things right.

“The new guys coming in as well I thought were excellent. They fitted in perfectly well. The boys up front worked really hard. We’re very pleased but, I must say, it’s the second game of the season; we’re not going to get too carried away with results just yet.”

Playing at home for the third time in 11 days, Sligo welcome Cork City to the Showgrounds this evening (7.45pm). The 2017 double winners have picked up where they left off last year, with wins over St Patrick’s Athletic and Waterford making the Leesiders the only team to have won both league games so far this season.

inpho_01333120 Cork City players celebrate after Gearoid Morrissey's opening goal against Waterford. Source: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

“It’s a great game to play,” Lyttle said. “We’re looking forward to playing Cork here. It’s always a close game when we play them. I’m sure this will be no different. It’s a challenge, it’s where we want to be. Eventually we want to be going toe-to-toe with the best in the league and obviously there’s none better than Cork this week.”

Elsewhere tonight, Waterford will be aiming to rebound from Friday’s 2-0 loss in Cork when they host St Pat’s at the RSC (7.45pm). Pat’s, who were unlucky to come away empty-handed from a 3-2 home defeat to the champions in their opening game, picked up their first points of the campaign on Friday as goals from Christy Fagan and Conan Byrne helped them to a 2-1 away win over Bray Wanderers.

Saints manager Liam Buckley is expecting a difficult test from newly-promoted Waterford, who have had a busy winter in the transfer market. The Blues marked their return to the top flight with a 2-1 win at home to Derry City before Friday’s defeat at Turner’s Cross.

“It will be a tough game,” Liam Buckley said. “If we can get something from it, it wouldn’t be a bad start. Looking at their squad of players, looking around at all the squads — everyone seems to have strengthened. They’re at home but we’re going to have to try and pick up something. From our end of it, we’ve got to go and get results in these places if we want to get to the next level.”

Izzy Akinade and Steven Beattie Izzy Akinade, one of Waterford's new signings, on the attack against Cork City. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Tonight’s other game sees Shamrock Rovers and Bray Wanderers both aiming for a first win of the season when they meet at Tallaght Stadium (8.00pm). For Bray, Friday’s defeat to St Pat’s came on the back of an encouraging goalless draw away to Dundalk. Rovers also played out a stalemate with Dundalk in Tallaght on Friday, having started their season with a 3-1 defeat to Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

New Bray manager Dave Mackey believes the swift turnaround from Friday’s game at the Carlisle Grounds will be a challenge for his players, although he accepts it’s something they’ll have to get used to over the coming weeks.

Mackey said: “It’s a big test, and it’s not only this weekend, but the following weekend I think we have Waterford on Friday and EA Sports Cup against Shelbourne on the Monday. The following week then we have Limerick away and then Sligo at home. I think there’s three successive weeks of double-header games — Friday and Monday — so that is a real challenge, there’s no doubt about that.

“But it’s the same for everybody. We have a very good strength and conditioning side and physio side, so we do our recovery right, we reorganise and we’ll be ready for the game. We just have to work with the schedule that’s there.”

Premier Division

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– Additional reporting from Jessica Farry and Dan Gorman

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Paul Dollery

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