We’re On Track: Gill
Dundalk manager John Gill watched his side bounce back from two straight defeats by narrowly overcoming the challenge of Athlone Town thanks to a late penalty at Oriel Park on Thursday night, and then assessed that the Lilywhites were right on course to meet their pre-season target. Prior to the beginning of the campaign, Gill stated that eighteen points per round would be good enough to put his troops in the front line for a title challenge. And, should they beat Kildare County next weekend, Dundalk will have passed that aim with a bonus point.
“I said at the start of the season that I was budgeting for eighteen points per round,” Gill recalled to dundalkfc.com after the game. “We now have 34 points, so if we can go and do our work properly next week – and nothing is guaranteed down in Kildare, it’s a hard place to go – and turn at 37, we’re ahead of ourselves. I still say that 72-76 points will win it, and if you’re in around that area, you should be in with a great chance. There’s players here that know what it takes to win. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to win a league, but we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Speaking on the match itself, Gill admitted: “I’m very relieved. I have to say, first of all, I thought the performance was a lot better than last week. It’s not perfect, but I thought in the first-half, we were very good. We missed two, possibly three, very good clear-cut headers. The second-half, I thought we just looked nervous. The longer the game went on, we looked more nervous, our passing was a little bit sloppy, and you could feel the tension around the place, which is understandable. There was a pressure cooker atmosphere around the place tonight, but I thought the crowd were great.
“We’re all nervous, none more so than me, but I’ve been down this road before a couple of times with promotion challenges, and at times it’s not pretty, and at times you’ve just got to dig in and dig results out. That’s what it was tonight. We also got a bit of luck. At the end, they probably could have had a penalty as well – we would have been looking for it if it had to be us. But, the fact of the matter is, we’ve won the game 1-0, it’s three points, and hopefully that will give the players a little bit of confidence. It’s my job now to try to massage that win and to get the confidence back into the players. We were down in Waterford, we played exceptional and got nothing. Tonight, we played okay and we got a result.”