St Patrick's Athletic host Shamrock Rovers in Inchicore TONIGHT as both sides enter into the second round of fixtures in this year's SSE Airtricity League season (Kick-Off 7.45pm).
The Saints will be hoping for a reversal in fortunes against the Hoops after their opening day 1-0 defeat in Tallaght Stadium, with the added incentive that a win would also lift them above Pat Fenlon's side in the league standings. For the Hoops, a win would see them continue to put pressure on league leaders Dundalk.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com ahead of the big Dublin derby, Saints' manager Liam Buckley spoke of last week's 4-1 victory away to Galway United and his eagerness for his side to continue their good form and look for a repeat performance in Richmond Park tonight.
"Last week was a fantastic win for us against Galway. They're very hard to beat at home but we played well and took our chances well when they came. We'll be looking for a repeat of that on Friday night and to raise our performance levels again."
"Dublin derbies like this one are what the fans really get excited about and the players are the same as well. We'll be going out to put on a performance and hopefully we can get the three points," Buckley admitted.
In team news, the Saints welcome Sean Hoare back into the squad after he missed out due to illness. Buckley is hopeful over the fitness of both Christy Fagan (knee) and Ger O'Brien (hamstring), but both will face late fitness tests. Togo international Cyril Guedje remains out with a hamstring injury.
After an impressive display in Eamon Deacy Park, Saints' winger Conan Byrne will be hoping to add to his goal tally for the season after he scored twice against Galway United last week. The Dubliner admits that the players are fully aware that the three points are crucial to both sides.
"Friday is a big game, both teams could really do with the points. We know that if we win, we go ahead of Rovers and at the same time, they are looking to keep up Dundalk so it should make for a good game," Byrne told stpatsfc.com.
On his own current form, Byrne admitted to being pleased with last week's two goals against Tommy Dunne's Galway side, but stressed that he was hoping for a repeat tonight against Shamrock Rovers.
"Last week went really well for me and I was really pleased to get the two goals. However as a team and individually, we've got to repeat that level again and look to do that every week. If we can do that, we can hopefully go on a good run of results."
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