Thursday 14 December 2017

Buckley not concerned by title gap

Saints boss confident of catching up

LIAM Buckley says he's not yet concerned about the gap between his St Patrick's Athletic side and Premier Division leaders Dundalk.

The Saints began the season with hopes of a title challenge but, with only seven games, gone, they're already eight points behind champions Dundalk, and failure to win away to an in-form Bohemians - the Gypsies now up to second in the table - next Friday would leave Pats with a lot of catching up to do.

Two early-season defeats, and successive draws in their last two games, have harmed the Inchicore club but Buckley says this is not time for panic. "Trust me, it's a long season," said Buckley, his side held to a 0-0 draw at home to Cork City.

"Dundalk drew in Limerick the other week and only scored in the 88th minute last Friday. Sligo game here two seasons ago having won eight on the spin and didn't end up winning the league.

"From our point of view it's not about what Dundalk or Bohs do, it's about us and I do want us to play better. We're still not there, hopefully we will get there fairly soon. But I am not concerned about anyone else, we need to pick up a better performance, and if we get a better performance we will pick up a fair share of points, but we do need to play better, it's as simple as that," added Buckley.

Meanwhile, Limerick boss Martin Russell admits that his side have to sort out their defensive problems very quickly. The Blues lost 4-0 away to a revived Bray Wanderers on Saturday, leaving them with the worst defensive record in league league and they stand out as the only side who have failed to keep keep even one clean sheet so far. "If you do the sort of defending that we did in the second half, you are going to concede. We need to improve that, whether it's individuals or collectively - there have got to be improvements in that area otherwise it will happen again," said Russell.

"We'll look to improve that and then we'll look to also get into the habit of putting the ball in the back of the net, which we can do better as well."

Bray, who had failed to score a goal, let alone win a point, in their first five games, have now clocked up 3-1 and 4-0 wins under caretaker boss Maciej Tarnogrodzki.

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