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'Change hasn't worked for this club' - Bradley calls on Shamrock Rovers fans to stick with him

The Hoops manager is under increased pressure with the club currently languishing in the bottom half of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Rovers fans unfurl a banner at full-time.
Rovers fans unfurl a banner at full-time.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

EIGHT DEFEATS FROM 21 league matches and 22 points adrift of the top.

The fact that Shamrock Rovers lost to Premier Division leaders Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium last night didn’t come as a major surprise, but the reaction of Hoops fans was most notable.

Having led through Dan Carr’s early goal, the home side conceded to the most prolific striker in the league right now, Pat Hoban, near the end of the first half.

Injuries to Carr and captain Ronan Finn didn’t help Rovers’ cause, and they fell apart after the break — losing 5-2 in the end.

After the final goal went in, a section of home supporters began to call for the sacking of manager Stephen Bradley from the stands and a banner was also unfurled at full-time.

It simply read: “It’s not working out. Enough is enough”.

“I understand their frustrations,” the Rovers boss said afterwards. “I think if you look at the players tonight, no one in that stadium could tell me that each and every one didn’t play for us, play for me, play for the jersey.

It’s small margins in big games and that’s what it came down to tonight.”

He added: “For 35 minutes, I thought we were excellent. We should have been two up and he [Gary Rogers] makes a great save, or we should score… whatever way you want to look at it. Then they go down the other end and score.

“We just gave away some really soft goals and in fairness you can’t give a team like that those opportunities and expect to win the game.

“If you look at it, Dan Carr was outstanding and then he has to come off. So that knocks you. Then, Ronan has to come off and that knocks you another bit.

“Those two come out and, plus Graham [Burke], you’re missing three key players against a top team. It’s obviously difficult but we were still winning the game when we just gave away some really soft goals.”

Stephen Kenny dejected Bradley looking dejected as he walks off the pitch. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Tallaght club gave top scorer Burke the night off as he is involved in Ireland’s squad that faces the US at the Aviva Stadium tonight. Asked if he regretted his decision after the loss, Bradley replied:

“No, not at all. Graham, whether he plays one minute or 90 minutes tomorrow, he has the chance to play for his country and I would never ever change my decision. Yeah, you’ll miss him as Graham is the best player in the league, but I’d never change my stance on it.”

So, with pressure growing and Rovers sitting outside the European places at present, Bradley has called for fans to stick with him.

I know where were are, where we’ve been and what we’re doing,” he said. “I think you saw for large spells tonight what this team is capable of. We were missing so many big players as well.

“Changing hasn’t worked for this club since… when? We need to believe in what we’re doing, and we do. So stay with it.”

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Ben Blake

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