'With success comes playing a lot of games' - Sligo Rovers boss Ian Baraclough

The Bit o' Red boss must steer his team through a difficult series of fixtures but is adamant that he will not be using a difficult run of game as an excuse
Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough has said that he will not use the fixture list as an excuse as his side prepares for a packed schedule, which will see them play seven games in the space of 24 days.

The Bit o' Red will take on Cork City at the Showgrounds in the league on April 13, before travelling to Drogheda United on Tuesday April 16 for the first leg of the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final. The league-leaders' forthcoming run of games also includes league ties against Drogheda United, St Patrick's Athletic, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City.

"It's a brutal fixture list at the moment," Baraclough told Goal.com. "But I'm not going to be making any excuses. We want to be successful and with success comes playing a lot of games."

He continued: "We've made a really good start. Derry City are snapping at our heels. They've done well since losing to us on the first day.

"We've got these two games against Drogheda United in the Setanta Cup, which is a competition that I'd like to go and do very well in, and we've got league games coming against Drogheda, St Pat's and Cork City, who have all got ambitions of lifting the title.

"Then we have Shamrock Rovers at the end of that run, so it's a massively important time for us," added the Sligo boss.

The former Scunthorpe United manager admitted that he would "circulate the squad" in order to "get the balance right" during the tight fixture schedule, but noted that he has no concerns about the strength of his squad.

"Nobody wants to be rested, but we can certainly circulate the squad around," he said. "With games coming every three days, there's no way they can be fully recovered in time.

"I'll not be making wholesale changes but switching one or two around at different times will certainly have to be done to get the balance right."

He added: "This time last year I was worried about injuries and I was probably playing with three or four under-19s on the bench. Fortunately we carried on winning and that laid the foundations for us to go on and win the league.

"This year I've got a squad where all players are capable of going out and playing without weakening the team. Everybody realises that it is a squad game; I'm going to upset people some weeks because they can't play and they've got to be prepared to go and take their chance when it comes," he said.

"There is good competition for places, they are good quality players and that should stand us in good stead, not only in the period coming up, but when games come thick and fast with the European fixtures," concluded Baraclough

Sligo Rovers host Cork City at the Showgrounds on Saturday, April 13. Kick off 15:55 BST.