The reigning champions of the Airtricity League Sligo Rovers are off to a great start to the season with a four streak win, the signing of Anthony Elding is proving to be a great asset to the club especially with Danny North still recovered from injury. Last season North was the top scorer in the league until the striker ruptured his cruciate ligament in the Europa League second leg clash against Spartak Trnava.
Rovers have defeated Derry City 1-0, Bray Wanderers 3-0, Dundalk 2-1 and Limerick 2-1 an impressive start for the club in the league.
Anthony Elding has started his season with Rovers prosperously with six goals in his appearances for the Bit O’ Red side. The younger players in the squad are also stepping up for Rovers with Jeff Henderson the 21 year old defender scoring his debut goal since joining the club in early July 2012 against Limerick United .Ryan Connolly and Lee Lynch are also among the young players on the squad who have knocked in four goals (Lynch three, Connolly one) for the side in The Setanta Cup against Glentoran over the two legs.
There were worries by some that Rovers would struggle to maintain the high standards that Ian Baraclough and the players set for the club last season after losing some vital players, such as Mark Quigley and Jason McGuinness who were instrumental in the club’s success last season.
Quigley and McGuinness signed for Shamrock Rovers along with St. Pat’s former midfielder Sean O’Connor who has made statements that the Hoops are hungrier for titles with the Saint’s always being “there or thereabouts”. O’Connor was also involved in a twitter row with John Doyle an avid Pat’s fan after his move back to the rival club. O’ Connor isn’t the only outspoken player on the team along with Ronan Finn both of whom were nominated for the PFAI Player of The Year for the 2012 season.
Finn made comments about Quigley’s move back to the club from Sligo Rovers, with a generic Shamrock Rovers comment referencing Hoops being the ‘real rovers’. Shamrock Rovers were very outspoken once signing began for the club under the new management of Trevor Croly in early November.
Despite the Hoops constant chatter of confidence and comments of being the ‘real rovers’ the club is currently six points behind the Bit O’Red side at the top of the league, although this is only very early stages of the season the Sligo have secured a much better start to the season. Hoops have only secured one win which was over rivals St Pat’s.
It may be early stages in the league but who are you putting your bets on to take the title?