League champions St Patrick's Athletic return to SSE Airtricity League action in Richmond Park tomorrow night as they host All-Ireland champions Sligo Rovers, kick-off 7.45pm.
Third placed Pat's will look to narrow the gap on the league's top two sides in Dundalk and Cork City as they face one another in Turner's Cross, while Sligo will look to narrow the gap to Pat's and the sides above them in fifth place.
Saints manager Liam Buckley told stpatsfc.com that he was pleased with his side's return to league action following their UEFA Champions League games against Legia Warsaw recently, praising his squad for their hard work and effort in the 2-0 away win against Athlone Town last Saturday.
“I thought the lads did really well to dig out a result against Athlone last week as it's tough to go from Europe back into league action so they deserve great credit. However we know we have to get the performance levels back up to a higher standard so we've been working hard this week on trying to do that.”
In team news, the Saints will be without defender Ken Oman with a calf injury, while Keith Fahey misses out through suspension. Saints' skipper Ger O'Brien has returned to training and faces a late fitness test on a groin problem, while otherwise Buckley has a full squad to select from. Aaron Greene also comes into contention to make a début for the club having joined from Sligo Rovers.
Having won the FAI Cup twice with Bit O'Red, Saints' defender Derek Foran knows that Friday's meeting won't be easy given the fact that the Saints have won, drawn and lost twice to Sligo in the four meetings this season in all competitions. However despite this, the Dubliner is confident the Saints can get a result.
“At this stage of the season, we know that it's all to play for. I'd know a good few of the Sligo lads from my time there previously, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Alan Keane and Gavin Peers for example – they're all quality players and still one of the top teams in the league,” Foran told stpatsfc.com.
“However we know that after last week's result in which we showed great mental strength and worked hard to keep a clean sheet, we can get the three points if we apply ourselves right. We're coming into the final stretch of the season so it's all about getting things right as a team and getting the results so we'll go out tomorrow night and try to win it.”
|7||St. Patrick's Athletic||26||30|
|11||Galway United FC||26||25|