The Saints host Shelbourne in Inchicore this Friday as the league leaders seek their second Dublin derby win in the space of a week, kick-off in Richmond Park is 7.45pm.
On the back of the 4-0 win against Shamrock Rovers thanks to four goals from Conan Byrne, Pats face a team managed by former boss John McDonnell for the first team since his departure prior to the 2009 season. McDonnell was also the captain of the 1995/1996 Saints' league winning side which also featured current Saints' boss Liam Buckley.
The Saints will hope to secure their third successive victory over the Reds in the league this year having defeated the Drumcondra side 4-0 in Inchicore in April and 3-0 in Tolka Park in May, while Shelbourne will look to extend their current four game unbeaten away record in the league.
Ahead of what will be the first of two meetings between the sides with Monday's Leinster Senior Cup semi-final taking place in Tolka Park next Monday, Saints' manager Liam Buckley spoke to stpatsfc.com about the challenge he expects Shelbourne to pose his side.
“We've just had one huge Dublin derby last week which we did very well in, and now we've got another big one this Friday in Richmond. Every game is important from here till the end of the season, so we'll get no easy games.”
“Johnny has done well with Shelbourne since he has come in and results have definitely improved. They've been playing well of late so our lads know they'll have to be fully concentrated and focused and put in a performance to get the three points,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
Buckley's side however will have to plan without the services of John Russell as the former Sligo Rovers midfielder serves a one match suspension. Similarly fellow midfielder Shane McFaul also misses out with a groin injury.
For Saints' midfielder Stephen Maher, the prospect of playing in a second Dublin derby in seven days is one he is relishing and is clear on the task ahead of the Saints.
“Listen it's another massive game. I've seen Shelbourne a couple of times lately and John McDonnell has them playing quite well. They'll be a tough challenge, but we've to concentrate on putting things right ourselves. We if we do the right things, we know we can get the three points,” Maher told stpatsfc.com.
Having joined Liam Buckley's squad a few week's into the league season, Maher expressed his delight to be getting more game time recently and he hopes that he and his teammates can continue their recent good run which sees them with a one point lead at the top of the Airtricity League.
“I've been playing a lot more lately and it's been great to be part of a winning team. The competition for places is huge here. Playing with other really top players, I feel it has really improved my game. I'll be hoping to get into the team tomorrow, but the main thing is we get the result and keep pushing on.”
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