Pats welcome Shelbourne to Richmond Park this Friday as they go in search of their ending their hoodoo of 10 years without a home league win against the Reds.
Goals from Tony Bird and current UCD manager Martin Russell earned the Saints a 2-1 win in August 2002 in Richmond Park, however on their last visit to Inchicore, Shels claimed the spoils as they ran out 3-1 winners in last year's FAI Cup semi-final replay against a Pat's side that finished with 10 men.
The history of the rivalry is not lost on Saints' manager Liam Buckley having previously played and managed Pats in the fixture, and he outlined the desire his current squad have to claim the three points. “Any game between Pats and Shels is always huge,” he told stpatsfc.com.
“The supporters always look forward to this game as it's always a stand-out fixture on the calendar. We know they'll be a great crowd in Richmond supporting us on Friday, and we'll be really pushing to get a result for them. We're moving along nicely in the league to date, so a win would keep us heading in the right direction and leave us in a good position ahead of our upcoming games.”
However having drawn 1-1 with Shelbourne in Tolka Park earlier in the season, Buckley was keen to stress that the Red's football and performances to date under Alan Matthews should have merited more plaudits from people.
“Alan is again doing a very good job with Shels this season. He always has his side well prepared, he has his team well organised all the time, but at the same time they have a lot of players who pose a lot of problems in attacking areas. They always pose a threat so we'll have to be 100% concentrated at all times.”
The Saints continue to be without the services of Mark Rossiter with a long-term knee injury, while Jake Kelly will be assessed before kick-off having come off in the midweek EA Sports Cup game against Shamrock Rovers with a hamstring complaint.
With the Shelbourne game being Pats' third Dublin derby in a week, and with the first leg of the first qualifying round Europa League fixture against IBV
Vestmannaeyjar just one week away, Saints' midfielder John Russell expressed his delight at another big game being on the horizon.
“It's great for the players to be playing in all these big games as it's what you want as a player. Obviously after the mid-season break as well, it's great to have plenty of games, and with European football around the corner, it's a great time to be involved with the club. But all our focus is on tomorrow night and Shelbourne as they're a good team and always give you a tough game,” Russell stated when talking to stpatsfc.com.
“I think they've added to the league this year, and they've some very good players. We were disappointed in the previous game against Shels not to have come away with the points, especially having had an extra man for a bit of the game. But with home advantage this time, we'll be hoping to get the three points and catch up with Sligo Rovers.”
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