“We have to hit the ground running”

By Stephen Leonard

IAN BERMINGHAM has warned that there is very little room for error as St Patrick’s Athletic continue their pursuit of a European berth in the new shortened Airtricity League season due to return on July 31.

With this season’s newly formatted league comprising of two rounds of fixtures, 18 in total, and counting results of matches already played to date, the Inchicore side can ill-afford to lose anymore ground.

Pats Players 20 compressor

Ian Bermingham insists St Patrick’s Athletic really have no room for error in the league

Indeed they currently occupy fourth place, already nine points off the pace-setters Shamrock Rovers albeit having played one game less.

Bermingham insists the new format has increased the pressure, telling The Echo “With just 13 or 14 games left now, it’s a bit of a sprint and we really have to hit the ground running.

“We’ll be looking to chase down that European spot but if we suffer a couple of defeats we’ll be immediately chasing our tail.

“Look, you’d rather a 36 game season. I think that gives a more true reflection of who’s the best team, who deserves to get into Europe and who’s relegated.

“There are those who are going to have a bit of moan about it, but it’s set in stone and we’ve just got to get on with it. We’re just glad to be back.

“We’ve got to be looking to improve and getting into Europe would be an improvement. We’ll be doing everything we can to get there.

“We got back on Monday, but the players have been doing their own thing, following their programmes and, in fairness, they’ve come back in good nick” he said.

Seeing his Shamrock Rovers side three points out in front as the league gears up for a return, Hoops manager Stephen Bradley said “I’m happy that we finally have a date, that we have something to work towards now and happy that we can get football back on.

“Everyone is fit. We have one or two little knocks, impact injuries but nothing serious. Everybody is training hard and looking forward to getting back. Now that we have a date it is great for the players because they are now training with an end in sight.

“We have been training like we would normally and the players have worked extremely hard. We obviously had to change how we approach training in things like making sure that sanitising and temperatures are right but other than that everything has been normal for us.

“We are ready to go. We’re training hard and we are delighted there’s been a date put out (for a restart). We are looking forward to it” he said.

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