IT IS NO coincidence that Sligo Rovers rise to the top of the Premier Division has coincided with the arrival of Danny North.
The 24-year-old’s knack for scoring has seen him weigh in with 14 of the Bit O’Red’s 24 league goals so far this term as Ian Baraclough’s side go in search of their first top tier title since 1977.
An off-season signing from St Patrick’s Athletic, where he took little time to settle in after arriving from England, North’s exploits were recognised this week when he received Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month for June.
Obviously it is nice to win individual awards, but it’s about being top of the league come the end of the season,” he told TheScore.ie today. “That’s why I joined the club so hopefully stay there.
“It wasn’t easy for the gaffer to come in when he did but fortunately the transition has gone well.”
Sligo, runners-up to Shamrock Rovers in 2011, are currently four points ahead of second-placed St Patrick’s Athletic after dropping two points at home to Bray Wanderers at the Showgrounds last Saturday.
Many were sceptical that Baraclough could seamlessly continue on the fine work that had been done by Paul Cook but four months in, there can be few complaints.
They make the trip to the Brandywell for a meeting with Derry City this evening and, while North is disappointed to miss out through suspension, he is eager to see a better performance this time out.
“We’ve always got to improve. We’ve played well at times and not so good at others. What I will say is that this group of players can battle their way through games if they have to.”
As is so often the case, several stand out performances have led to speculation of interest from clubs in England and Scotland in recent weeks.
While Grimsby-native North admits that returning home was always on the cards, he has not been informed by Sligo of any bids and is eager to get on with doing the job he was brought in to do by his current employers.
I’ve not heard anything from the club but a couple of scouts have been on – It’s nice to hear you’re doing well. I love Ireland and I’ve been offered a new deal at Sligo so that’s something to think about.
“The plan was always to get back to England but I’m not looking too far ahead.”