St. Patrick's Athletic manager Stephen O'Donnell has vowed to rectify his side's goalscoring issues as the 2019 Premier Division heads towards its climax. Saints drew 0-0 at home to UCD on Friday night in what was the former Dundalk captain's first
St. Patrick's Athletic manager Stephen O'Donnell has vowed to rectify his side's goalscoring issues as the 2019 Premier Division heads towards its climax.
Saints drew 0-0 at home to UCD on Friday night in what was the former Dundalk captain's first game in the Richmond Park dugout.
Despite lying in fifth place in the table, O'Donnell's side are fourth-bottom in the goals scored list, having hit the back of the net just 26 times in 31 league outings this season. While they did have three goals ruled offside on Friday, their manager wants to see the net bulge more often.
"We're going to look to improve that," he said. "Scoring is the hardest part of football. There were a couple of marginal offside decisions that didn't go our way. That's just football. Obviously, you look to be more clinical and press home your advantage when you have it. Pat's have been struggling to score goals all season so we'll look to remedy that. We have good attacking players and we'll work on that and try and improve it."
When the starting line-up was announced, there were a couple of surprise calls, not least the inclusion of goalkeeper Barry Murphy for his first league start of the season. While Murphy didn't have too much to do, O'Donnell was glad to give him a chance and has vowed to do so with others.
"We have a good squad with a lot of players chomping at the bit to come in. We're going to utilise the squad and take it from there. We have a lot of good players and we can only pick 11 so there are a lot of good players sitting on the bench waiting for their chance."
Speaking about his new role, O'Donnell was clear about his vision for St. Patrick's Athletic, saying: "It's great getting an opportunity at a club like St. Pat's so I'm going to grasp it with both hands. There will be no stone left unturned in trying to make St. Pat's ultra-competitive and a force again."
With five games remaining in the season, O'Donnell has his sights set on third spot, which would clinch European football for a second successive season. Lying just two points behind Bohemians after the Gypsies' defeat to Waterford, the manager wants to see everyone pulling together towards that goal.
"When you turn up, you want to win every game you can. Between now and the end of the season there are five games and we'll try and win them all, it's as simple as that. Wherever that takes us at the end of the season, we'll see where it is but everyone turns up on a Friday trying to win the game, Nothing changes in that respect."
Next in the league for St. Pat's is a trip to Tallaght to face Shamrock Rovers, following a visit to Cabinteely in the Leinster Senior Cup on Sunday.