Saturday 25 November 2017

Desmond: Saints will battle

Ex-Magpie Lee admits that struggling St Pat's need to grind out some wins

St Patrick’s Athletic defender Lee Desmond insists his side can begin to pick up wins without sacrificing their style of play
St Patrick’s Athletic defender Lee Desmond insists his side can begin to pick up wins without sacrificing their style of play

As his former club Newcastle United escape the Championship and prepare for life in the Premier League, St Patrick's Athletic man Lee Desmond is adamant that his current side will not be going in the other direction and dropping down a division.

Ten games into the 2017, the Saints are in the relegation places, two points away from the safety positions after a return of one point from the last three games with city rivals Bohemians also hovering near the drop zone.

Pat's showed - for an hour - in their last outing, against Cork City, that they can compete but still ended up with another loss as they struggled once the league leaders went in front and while utility man Desmond feels that his side will get out of trouble, he admits it has to happen rapidly.

"It's still tight in the bottom half and everything could change with two wins. But we need results now to get ourselves up the table. We are going to change things around but we have to do it soon," says Desmond.

"Relegation hasn't even come into my mind. There is a belief in that squad, we are a good group of players and I know we're not far off. But we need to click, we have some good fixtures coming up. We'd do anything to get a win at the moment, do whatever it takes, but we will stick to our style of play.

"Last week, against Cork, we were in the game for an hour but we gave away a free kick, a questionable free kick, it hit off one of our lads and went in, they were in front and our heads dropped.

"And it seems like awful decisions are going against us every week, little things are going against us. We were well in the game for that first 60 minutes so we can compete, but we need to do it over 90 minutes."

Things appeared to have turned their way when the Saints had back to back wins, over Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians, last month but since then the side have managed just one point and one goal in 270 minutes of league football.

The Saints face into a spell on the road with successive away games against Derry City (league), Cork City (EA Sports Cup quarter-final) and an in-form Bray Wanderers (league again).

"All we can do is work as hard as we can on the training ground to improve. We have to take our chances and we can't be giving away silly goals, which we are at the minute," added Desmond, who joined Pats in 2015 after spells with Newcastle and Shelbourne.

Meanwhile, Derry City hope they have stopped the rot as they prepare to take on Limerick at home tonight.

This is Derry's third attempt to play the Blues, as the initial meeting of the sides in March was abandoned due to a floodlight failure and the refixed game was called off due to the sudden death of City captain Ryan McBride.

Saturday's 1-1 draw away to Sligo Rovers ended a run of four straight defeats, without a goal scored, for Kenny Shiels' side and he feels that confidence has been restored.

"It's a point to start building. We have to start thinking positively about the future and games coming up," says Shiels. "Getting the goal will have given us a lift. it's good to get a point and get back on the scoreboard."

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