St Patrick's Athletic travel south tomorrow night for their SSE Airtricity League clash against Stuart Taylor's Limerick side as the league champions look to claim three points.
Both sides will be hoping to bounce back from dropped points in their last league outings, the Saints drawing 1-1 in the Belfield Bowl against UCD, while Limerick suffered a 2-1 Munster derby defeat in Thomond Park on Tuesday to Cork City.
In team news ahead of the game, the Saints will be without the services of defender Derek Foran who continues to recover from a knee injury. The Saints however were boosted during the week by the return to action of both Ken Oman and Mark Quigley in their 1-0 Leinster Senior Cup semi-final over Shamrock Rovers.
“Limerick are a tough side and won't give us anything easy on Friday night,” Saints' manager Liam Buckley admitted when speaking to stpatsfc.com. “We had tough games in Thomond Park last year so we know what to expect come kick-off time.”
“The lads were a bit unlucky last week against UCD so the aim will be to bounce back on Friday. To do that though we know we'll have to up the performance level a bit, so the preparation for Friday is all about getting that right, and if we do that, we'll hopefully be ok.”
Returning to winning ways and the getting the three points is the foremost thought in the mind of Saints' striker Christy Fagan, who netted his ninth league goal of the season in last week's draw with UCD.
“As we know from last year having had a narrow 1-0 win and a 0-0 draw there, Limerick are a strong team at home so it's not an easy place to go to,” Fagan told stpatsfc.com. “They had a narrow defeat to Cork during the week as well so they'll want to get a result on Friday.”
“It's always a challenge playing against Limerick as their centre backs in Sam Oji and Stpehen Folan are two strong players. But as well as that, they've good quality in the team with the likes of Shane Tracy.”
Fagan netted the Saints only goal in the previous clash between the sides earlier in the season – James McGrath's 77th minute goal earning Limerick a point in a game the Saints had been on top in for long periods. Fagan admits that he has been on a good run of form to this point in the season, however he reasoned that the team's results was the main priority, as opposed to his own personal form.
“It was good last week to keep the good form going. I actually messed up a chance before I scored as I'd a headed chance which I just jumped a little to early for, so it was good to put a chance away so soon after that. But we lost our way a little after that, as while we had loads of possession and didn't look in danger of losing, we'd no tempo in our play so it was disappointing to draw.”
“We'll be looking to up our performance levels for Friday and the main thing is that we get the three points.”
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