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Sullivan circles Hoops' wagons

But Shamrock Rovers defender Pat Sullivan fears that rival clubs in Ireland are just waiting to see the Hoops slip up as they attempt to regain their League of Ireland title.

Of their next few games, Rovers have to play Drogheda United, UCD, Bray Wanderers and Galway United, all of whom are in the bottom half of the table and have little to play for as, with the Hoops also due to face Bohemians and Derry City, two teams are still in the hunt for the league (Derry) and a European place (Bohs).



Concern

But former UCD, Drogheda United, Longford Town and Cork City man Sullivan admits that every game between now and the end of the season -- starting tomorrow at home to Drogheda United -- is a concern for the Hoops.

"I have been with clubs down at the wrong end of the table so I know exactly how the Drogheda players will approach the game tomorrow," says Sullivan, whose deflected shot created the opportunity for Stephen Rice to finish and give Rovers the lead in London on Thursday night. Rovers, of course, went on to lose 3-1.

"Even if your team is safe from relegation, you still come out to play in games like this one, you still want to prove a point about yourself and take something off a club like Rovers.

"I know I'd have done that if I was a Drogheda player playing against a team who'd done well in Europe so we will have to be switched on tomorrow.

"We're finished with the European thing for now so we have to get our heads right and focus on the game tomorrow.

"If we go in with the wrong attitude we could get caught, but I still feel we have the quality in the squad to get what we need and get that bit closer to the league," adds Sullivan.

"The league is vitally important for us. We're not going to ignore it just because we're in Europe.

"We are where we are, in the group stages, because of the league and if we want to have a crack at this again next season we have to win the league.

"I know we can get into the Europa again by finishing second but the Champions League is where we want to be again next season. If we don't win the league, it's all been for nothing."

The Rovers squad and coaching staff arrived back in Dublin yesterday with little time then to prepare for the meeting with a Drogheda side who have not won a game or kept a clean sheet in six games.



PROUD

"We're still proud of what we did the other night at Spurs," added Sullivan.

"We lost the game, but we lost to a top team with quality players all over the park. We can't change anything that happened in the game so, to me, we'll draw on the fact that we scored at White Hart Lane and were in front for 10 minutes.

"Even in the Premier League, a lot of teams will come to White Hart Lane and not even score.

"Thursday was disappointing because of the way Spurs scored their goals.

"Looking back, maybe we could have stopped the wingers getting those crosses in and, as an individual, I have to hold my hand up and admit that I should have done better.

"I let the player get the cross in and we paid the price. But that's the quality Spurs have, Giovani Dos Santos was superb the other night and he might not even make the squad for the Arsenal game tomorrow."