Offaly manager wants players to 'take the shackles off' for Armagh clash

'The green shoots are there.'

Offaly manager wants to 'take the shackles off' ahead of Armagh clash

Offaly manager wants to 'take the shackles off' ahead of Armagh clash

Offaly manager Stephen Wallace has spoken of taking the shackles off ahead of his team's clash with Armagh in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League.

Offaly are coming off the back of three straight defeats while Armagh are perched at the top of the Division with promotion to Division 2 well in their sights.

Wallace admits that Armagh coming to Tullamore "will be a big ask for our boys" but insisted, "we’ll have a go." "This newly formed group of dedicated Offaly young lads will make sure of that," he added.

After the disappointment of three consecutive defeats, the new boss has pointed to the "green shoots" of progress he has seen, welcoming the fact that, "there’s been a marked improvement from Longford to Fermanagh and on to Derry." He is forecasting stiff opposition on Sunday from the county he expects to win Division 3. 

"Look a slow start probably cost us last Sunday where we gave Derry a nine-point headstart, but the lads battled back and at one stage had the lead cut to two but we were always chasing the game," he commented.

"If we can learn each time we are out we will definitely improve. If we can settle in the early stages Sunday and get some form of a foothold in the game then if we can perform to our capabilities, and we have a chance."

Speaking about expectations, Wallace said, "Look, you’re dealing with an Offaly side that stayed up on the very last day of the league last year, they were that close to dropping back down to Division 4, so people have to be realistic."

"They are where they are, but they are improving - it will take time."

Turning his attention to Sunday's opponents, he said, "Armagh under Kieran will be a few years ahead of us as a team in terms of development but we have good footballers in our team as well, as good as anywhere in the country a few of them."

"We just need to just take the shackles off and perform like I know that this bunch of Offaly footballers can do. Hopefully Sunday now that we are back home after three weekends in a row up North, the bit of home comfort will help," he concluded. 

Offaly's game with Armagh throws in at 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park.

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