Mark Salmon in conversation with Kieran Burke.
Q: First off I believe congratulations are in order Mark?
A: Yes, I missed the Finn Harps game with the birth of our 1st baby, a baby girl. Janine and the baby are doing great I'm pleased to report.
Q: With the new arrival into the Salmon family you obviously missed last weekends game meaning you haven't played a competitive game for almost a month now. Any worries about your match sharpness?
A: No I'll be fine! We've been training really well and I'm feeling good. The rest does you good I feel.
Q: Town fans were delighted to see Craig Walsh back playing last Friday night but just how important is it for a squad to be competitive in terms of places all over the field?
A: Ye, it was great to see him back. He's been very unlucky with injures this season and is only starting to find his feet. But yes it's important to have competition for places, if players know there's someone breathing down their neck for their spot they are always on there toes.
Q: Before the break the team seemed to run out of steam a little bit and the goals began to dry up a little bit. Personally you haven't scored in quite a few games now, would you be hopefully the extended break may help change that or is your overal game more important than your goal scoring?
A: Ye, I haven't scored In a while now but If I'm doing my job for the team then I don't mind. It doesn't matter where the goals are coming from once there coming and we're winning.
Q: On Friday you guys make the trip West to face second bottom Mervue United. With all respect to United a Town win is expected by many. How difficult is it for players to keep focused when expectation is so high?
A: We know it's going be a tough game Friday. We don't take any team lightly and it shows with some of the games we lost or dropped points in this season you can't do it (Take teams lightly).
Q: Without wanting to look too far forward after this upcoming game you have Athlone Town and Waterford United at home. Could this be a defining period in the season?
A: There's still along way to go In the league. We're only half way in so I think it's a bit early to say whether it's a defining peroid or not. We're taking every game as it comes and trying to pick up as much points as we can.
Q: During the week I was having some fun on Twitter with Limerick player Paudie Quinn about the promotion race. Do you ever engage with opposition players on Twitter before a big game, perhaps play a few mind games?
A: Eh... not really before games. Mainly during the week about what's going on that week in the news but I don't really talk to many before a game.
Q: With the spotlight currently being shone on Irish grassroots and youth development after Ireland's disastrous Euro 2012 campaign I'd love to get your views as a player that came through the English system at Wolverhampton Wanderers. How far behind are we in terms of youth development and what do you feel needs to be done to bring our system up to scratch?
A: Yes! I think it's in need of a major revamp. You even look at England, their after finally changing the way they do things over there. Their (England) so far behind the likes of Spain and Holland so you can just imagine how far we are behind if England are only changing now. It's always about winning and the biggest kids getting picked. But yet the Spanish team are all very small. It's not technically good enough here and that's the problem. They don't develop kids in Ireland. It's a little better in England because of the day to day training but I think their still way behind of some of the European countries.
Q: In terms of the national team themselves do you still feel "Trap" is the man? Or is it time to look elsewhere?
A: I think "Trap" is a little bit stuck in his ways. You can't argue with what he's won in his career but for now I'd like to see someone else come in.
Q: You have been a LOI player for a few years now at a few different clubs. In that time do you feel the LOI has gone backwards or forwards in light of the recent developments at Monaghan United and what do you feel should be done in the future to make sure the league is a success?
A: Since I've come home from England I think every year a team has gone bust. It's like your waiting every year for someone to go. It won't get any better unless people get out and watch their local team. The national team got great praise in the news all over the world about being such great fans yet there's probably only a handful that would go and watch League of Ireland football and I think 6 of the lads in Ireland's squad were playing league of Ireland previously. There were a few players been called for, the likes of Fahey, Coleman, McClean, all ex- League of Ireland players so if we got a bit of support and a bit of money in the league it would be a million times better.
Q: Back to Longford affairs now and we have of course now passed the half way mark in the league season. Would you have taken your current league position pre-season if offered and is there anything you would have done differently up until now?
A: Yes, I would of taken it. To be winning the league after the half way point is great. We've been top right from the start and I think early on people were saying "oh we have had a great start" expecting us to fall away but we haven't and don't expect to either. We have to keep focused on what were doing and keep winning games and be top at the end of the season. There's no point leading all the way and not been there at the end so we know what's ahead of us.
Q: Limerick are very confident of hitting the front not too long from now so do you feel it could be key to stay top for as long as possible even if just by grinding out results in the hope of frustrating Limerick into a slip up and how many teams would you say are realistically in the promotion/title race?
A: There's still a lot of twist and turns to go. We have to play everyone again twice so there's lots of points up for grabs so a few teams will still fancy their chances including Limerick but the games We've played against Limerick we won one and I don't know how we didn't get something at home against them so it's not a case of just hanging on from Limerick. We deserve to be where we are in the league.
Q: Finally Mark on a lighter note, who is the biggest Twitter addict in the Town squad, have we any Joey Barton's amongst us?
A: Paul Hunt!!! He's a disaster. He does be very close to bringing his phone on to the training pitch to tweet haha!