Preview: Sligo V Saints

  • Fri, Oct 12, 2007 @ 10:49

Sligo Rovers will be hoping to arrest their recent slump in form when they host St Patrick's Athletic in the eircom League of Ireland Premier Division at the Showgrounds this evening, kick-off 8pm.

Both sides held realistic European and Setanta Sports Cup ambitions only a few weeks ago, but the two have endured a disappointing run of late, losing three of their last six games each.

However, St Pat's are still well poised to challenge for second spot as they trail current incumbents Cork City by just three points, and with 15 points still to play for, all is not lost for Sligo either.

Things could have been so much different for Rovers if Lady Luck had been on their side, the cruelty of their last two defeats to Bohemians and then league leaders Drogheda United highlighting the slim line between success and failure.

They were well on their way to earning at least a point against Bohs when Seamus Coleman was sent off with 20 minutes remaining.

However, they lost their concentration and shape and eventually went down 3-0, a scoreline which flattered the hosts given their efforts in the previous 70 minutes, during which they had looked second best.

An injury-time winner from Jason Gavin proved the difference between Rovers and leaders Drogheda last Friday, and it is unlikely the champions-in-waiting will have a visiting team attack them at United Park like Rovers did, such was their adventure and endeavour.

Pat's, for their part, have had a promising season undermined by two defeats to Dublin rivals Bohs in their last three outings.

The first of those, a 2-1 defeat at Richmond Park, saw them exit the FAI Ford Cup at the quarter-final stage, while last Friday's 1-0 reversal at the same venue was finely poised until Darren Mansaram, two-goal hero in the cup victory, stepped up again in the 65th minute.

Sligo manager Paul Cook is expecting to be without two of his key players, as midfielder Adam Hughes is a major doubt with a head injury he received in an accident at home, while right-back Coleman has received a call-up to Don Givens' Republic of Ireland U-21s for tonight's game against Sweden.

Hughes faces a late fitness test before the game, although his absence against Drogheda last week led to suggestions from fans that he, like so many others in recent months, may have already agreed a move away from the Showgrounds.

Of his international call-up, 19-year-old Coleman, who starts on the bench, said: 'I was delighted to get called into the squad. It is my first time with the Ireland Under-21s and I would love the opportunity to get on for a bit of the game. I've really enjoyed the experience and hopefully I can get into the squad again.'

Pat's manager John McDonnell has selection problems of his own with Stephen Paisley and Joseph Ndo both missing last time out, although at least one of the two is expected to return.


Next Fixture

Derry City / October 27th @ 7:45pm
Competition: League
Venue: Maginn Park

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League Table

Pos Team Pld Pts
1Cork City3273
2Dundalk3266
3Shamrock Rovers3251
4Derry City3150
5Bray Wanderers3246
6Bohemian FC3244
7Limerick3240
8St. Patrick's Athletic3238
9Galway United FC3235
10Sligo Rovers3135
11Finn Harps3130
12Drogheda United3118