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Byrne happy to talk 'opportunity for Wembley' after Wigan triumph

17 January 2024


Byrne happy to talk 'opportunity for Wembley' after Wigan triumph

17 January 2024

Even Cliff Byrne allowed talk of Wembley after Rovers secured progression in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

Rovers beat Wigan Athletic on penalties to reach the quarter-final stage and set up a last eight tie with Bradford City at the end of January.

While typically focusing on the next game, Rovers assistant manager Byrne feels the players should be encouraged to chase the carrot of a Wembley final, which would be sealed with two more wins in the competition.

“We do speak to the players about it,” he said. “The opportunities to play at a stadium like that are few and far between and not everyone gets a chance.

“We maybe have an opportunity after a couple of more games to get there.”

Byrne was delighted with the manner in which instructions for tactical tweaks were implemented in the second half as Rovers roared back to level the tie with an Owen Bailey header.

It laid the groundwork for the triumph in the shootout, with Louis Jones saving from Jordan Jones after Rovers scored four perfect penalties.

“I think it was a really good game,” Byrne said. “Wigan are a really good footballing team and they made life difficult for us for large spells of the first half without really penetrating in on goal. Their possession and how they pushed and pulled us about, we found that challenging.

“But the lads stuck at it and we made a couple of little tweaks at half time and I felt we took the stranglehold of the game back from them in the second half and gathered momentum.

“We got into some really good areas. We need to hit the target a bit more, test the keeper and ask more questions. But you can’t fault the lads’ effort and their endeavour, especially to carry out the tweaks we tried to implement throughout the game. Full credit to the group of players.

“In the manner we conceded the goal, without dwelling on it, we didn’t see a lot more of that throughout the game. They had some dangerous situations without getting in and getting a shot off on Louis, and we had similar situations to them.

“We weren’t sat in the dressing room wondering how we get back in the game. It was more of a point about when are we getting back in the game and the way we’d do it. The group of players on the pitch went and put the plan into action.”

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