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Greg backs super Hoops for title tilt

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AT THE SUMMIT: Shamrock Rovers captain Greg Bolger. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

AT THE SUMMIT: Shamrock Rovers captain Greg Bolger. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

AT THE SUMMIT: Shamrock Rovers captain Greg Bolger. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

A league title winner with two of his previous clubs, Greg Bolger says he senses something in the air at Shamrock Rovers after they went clear at the top of the Premier Division table.

Rovers have not managed a top-two finish since their last title success in 2011, but four wins and a draw from six games is enough to give Stephen Bradley's side a two-point lead over Bohemians, who have a game in hand.

Friday's 1-0 win away to St Patrick's Athletic was their third successive clean sheet and Wexford man Bolger says he's impressed with what he has seen from the Hoops.

Graft

"I have been on league-winning teams, some nights it's not about being pretty, it's about graft and we did that with the win over Pats," Bolger told The Herald, the midfielder having spilled blood for the cause on Friday night as an elbow to the face caused a facial injury.

"That's what it takes, digging in and winning a Dublin derby away from home. We knew that if we could be solid we could catch them on the counter-attack and we could have scored five or six, and that's no exaggeration, some of our counter-attack play was beautiful.

"I think the Pat's game on Friday was the sort of match last season where we'd have thrown it away but it's great to get wins like that and we have something to take into the Sligo game next weekend.

"It's very early in the season, only six games gone so we're not getting carried away by any means.

"But if we keep up the spirit we have and the standards we have set so far this year, we won't be too far away at the end of the season.

"We were way too open in the first half of last season, we made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of naivety, players were taking it in turns to make a mistake.

"But we had our shape right for the second half of the season and we've carried that on this year. We have a good shape about us, we are going to be hard to beat.

"If we keep our standards and don't slack off, we will be right up there," added Bolger, who admits that the size of the squad at Rovers, especially in midfield, makes for intense competition for places, an example of that in Dylan Watts being Rovers' most impressive player in last week's win over Finn Harps but who was then on the bench for the Pat's game.

"Look at our squad on Friday, we had Dylan and Sean Kavanagh on the bench, and next week it could be me on the bench and someone in ahead of me.

"You need a squad to win a league, I have won it with Pat's and Cork where we had strong squads, and we have that here at Rovers now."


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