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After securing their top flight status Sligo have announced eight signings for 2018

The 2012 Premier Division champions secured their top flight status for next season against Drogheda last night.

Sligo manager Gerard Lyttle pictured with Kyle Callan-McFadden.
Sligo manager Gerard Lyttle pictured with Kyle Callan-McFadden.

Updated at 4.45pm

RHYS MCCABE AND Kyle Callan-McFadden are among eight new signings announced by Sligo Rovers for next season, following last night’s 0-0 draw away to Drogheda United which secured the club’s status in the Premier Division for 2018.

In his first season in charge since taking over from Dave Robertson in April, manager Gerard Lyttle led the Bit O’Red to safety following a run-in which featured three wins and two draws in their last seven games.

McCabe and Callan-McFadden join Michael Schlingermann, Regan Donelon, Craig Roddan, Jack Keaney, John Mahon and Ed McGinty as signed for 2018.

Announcing the new contracts, boss Lyttle said it was important for the 2012 league champions not to stagnate following a tough season where they battled with the prospect of relegation to the First Division.

“It’s important we move quickly and don’t stall,” he said. “It’s hard times as well for players out of contract. It’s been difficult the last month or so to keep the head and not knowing where their future is.

Gerard Lyttle Gerard Lyttle kept Sligo in the Premier Division after taking over in April. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“In the next week or two it’s going to be all hands to the pump in terms of speaking to players. For the players that aren’t going to be here it’s important we show the respect and speak to them and move on.

“For me Kyle is one of the best centre backs in the league. He’s got everything, he puts his body on the line.

“He can play as well, he’s got a turn of pace and attacks the ball really well. More important what he has shown me is huge leadership qualities in this campaign. He grew in confidence and he became a man in a matter of months.

“Rhys’ qualities are right through. He’s got all you want as a midfielder and his talents are very clear. Again he has that leadership. He gelled the squad together. He kept people motivated and he’s really important for the future of this club.

“It’s important we can keep players like Rhys and Kyle and it’s a standard for us.”

Callan-McFadden joined Sligo in December 2016 following stays at both Norwich City and Orlando City B in the United Soccer League.

He said: “I’m delighted to be here for another year. I really want us to push on next season.”

“I’ve loved it here this year. This league is very under-rated. I’ve really enjoyed my time here so I’m delighted to stay for another year.

“In the first two or three games it took me a while to find my feet. Playing in America, it’s a much slower pace to the game. It’s really in your face here.

“After those first two or three games, I started to find my feet and then I really started to enjoy myself. I think that showed in some of performances as well.”

The 22-year-old defender from Donegal has represented Ireland at U17, U19 and U21 level. He added that he relished the atmosphere in the dressing room throughout his first campaign at the Showgrounds in 2017.

“We’re a close knit team and we’re really looking forward to next season to do better things. We want to go into pre-season and hit the ground running. Hopefully we can end up the table higher. This is about the building for next season.”

Sligo spent a large portion of the year battling relegation, however a win at Turner’s Cross to inflict a second home defeat of the season on champions Cork City marked a turning point after which they secured 11 points from 18 thereafter.

Last night’s 0-0 stalemate at United Park secured the club’s status in the division during a season where three sides were automatically relegated.

Following their 4-3 defeat to Dundalk at Eamon Deacy Park Galway United joined Drogheda and Finn Harps in going down.

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Aaron Gallagher

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