The top two sides in the Premier Division clash this Saturday as the Saints travel to the Showgrounds to face leaders Sligo Rovers as they aim to maintain their hopes of claiming the 2012 Airtricity League title.
Sligo go into the weekend's game on the back of last week's 0-0 draw in Turners Cross against Cork City, while the Saints remain in good spirits having impressively defeated Dundalk 3-0 away from home to advance to the FAI Cup final on November 4th where they now will meet Derry City.
With both sides having the joint best defensive records in the league, and having witnessed the sides play out 0-0 and 1-1 draws respectively in the Showgrounds and Richmond Park already this season, Saints' manager Liam Buckley admitted to stpatsfc.com that he again expects little to separate the sides come the full-time whistle on Saturday.
“Everyone is in good spirits following the win last weekend, and now we're all fully focused on the match in Sligo on Saturday. There's no doubt about in my mind that it is a league defining game. We'll be going out to do ourselves justice and see where the result will take us.”
“The games between the sides have been tight to date, and I'd imagine it'll be similar this weekend. They're unbeaten at home this season in the league so we know it'll be tough.”
For Saints' manager Liam Buckley, the majority of his squad are fully fit and available for selection, though he will be without the services of midfielder Ryan Coombes who is currently away on international duty with the Ireland U19's, while Jake Kelly is a doubt with an ankle injury.
Buckley confirmed that Mark Rossiter remains unavailable as he continues to recover from a cruciate ligament injury earlier in the season, though he paid credit to the determination and hard work of the Sligo born midfielder in returning to light training recently.
For Saints' striker Christy Fagan, the scene of the Showgrounds is one he remembers too well having missed a last minute penalty in the 1-1 draw against the Bit O'Red back in April.
However as the former Bohemians and Manchester United forward told stpatsfc.com, the chance to play in another must win game following last week's FAI Cup semi-final and the opportunity to reduce Sligo's six point lead at the top is one the whole Saints' squad are relishing.
“It's great we've another massive game on Saturday. It gives us a chance to catch up on Sligo Rovers in a game that I think all the added pressure will be on them,” admitted the Saints' top-scorer with 14 goals in all competitions.
“Obviously we have the pressure that we put on ourselves every week to perform and give 100% for the club and the fans travelling to support us, but the league is theirs to lose. Perhaps in knowing that if they slip up against us and there being just two games to go afterwards, maybe they'll be a bit nervous. Either way, we know what we've got to do so we'll just go out and try get the result.”
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