LIMERICK FC manager Martin Russell said that the club is entering “a critical period” ahead of consecutive home games against Bray Wanderers and Galway United at the Markets Field.
Bray make the trip to Shannonside on Saturday evening (kick-off 6:30pm), with Galway venturing south a week later, and with the Super Blues now seven points adrift at the bottom, these fixtures could shape the course of their season.
Russell hinted that now is the time for the team to end their prolonged winless run and maintain a realistic chance of Premier Division survival going into the business end of the campaign.
“We’ve given ourselves a bit to do by not securing the victories that maybe some of our play warranted in the first set of games, but this is it. I’m up for the challenge and I’m sure the players are looking forward to getting back into the Markets Field, having had one taste of it already.
“I think the players realise the level they’re at and the demands of the game at Premier Division level, but also the rewards that are there. If the players want to do well for themselves, they know they need to perform at this level and take the rewards that go with it. In the process, it helps the club to move forward.”
Limerick returned from the mid-season break last Friday in less than encouraging fashion, suffering a 6-2 defeat away to league leaders Dundalk.
Second half goals from Sean Harding and Shane Duggan were mere consolations for the visitors, but a missed penalty with 15 minutes left prior to Dundalk’s sixth goal could have set up a tense finish.
Russell reflected: “There were positives. To score two, and it probably should have been three, at Oriel Park shows that there are facets of our game that can cause problems for the best. Equally, if you’re going to be critical, you analyse the [Dundalk] goals. Some of them were preventable and we need to get both parts of our game right to be competitive against the top sides.
“From talking to the Dundalk manager after the game he said the scoreline might have flattered them a little bit. There’s a recognition that we did put it up to them at times, but also there’s a recognition that the type of goals we gave away left ourselves too much to do. There were some positives with the goals we scored and the goals we could have scored, but we know we’re still a long way off from where we want to be.”
With the summer transfer window now open for July, Limerick have already made one signing, with Lee-J Lynch returning to his home city after a brief stint with Scottish Premiership club Hamilton.
The midfielder was also signed by Russell a year ago and featured for the Super Blues in the closing weeks of the 2014 season.
Limerick are also in the market for a midfielder and a striker, with the manager indicating that the club will be active on the transfer front this month.
“There are players who you would identify, but for whatever reason you may not be able to get access. We are looking and there are enquiries being made about various players to see of their availability.”
by Liam Togher