St Patrick's Athletic make the short trip to Tallaght Stadium for the second time this week as they face Shamrock Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League on Friday night (kick-off 8pm, LIVE on Setanta Ireland).
The Saints will be hoping for a repeat of recent results against the Hoops having recorded victories over their rivals in the EA Sports Cup on Monday (4-2 on penalties) and the 2-1 home win in the second round of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup back in May.
On the back of Monday's victory, manager Liam Buckley expressed his happiness that the Saints had achieved their goal of reaching the EA Sports Cup final, but warned that Friday's repeat game would be just as challenging for his side.
"We were delighted to get through the tie on Monday. I thought we played well in the first half and dealt with the conditions reasonably well. We kept plugging away to break the deadlock and were unlucky in a few instances, but overall to get the win in the end on penalties, we're delighted and now we look forward to a final against Galway in a few weeks."
"In relation to Friday though, we know it'll again be difficult. Both teams should be fine in relation to fitness as the legs will have recovered in time for the game. It's a big game in relation to where the teams are in the league table so it should make for a good game of football."
Buckley confirmed to stpatsfc.com that 2014 top-scorer Christy Fagan remains on the sidelines with a knee injury, while Shane McEleney misses out as he serves a one match suspension he picked while playing for his former side, Derry City. Meanwhile Sean Hoare faces a late fitness test as he nears a return to first team action following a hamstring problem.
One of the Saints' heroes on Monday was new midfield signing Ian Morris, the former Northampton Town man scoring the winning penalty against the Hoops. The Dubliner played down suggestions that he was the hero of the day, instead praising all his teammates for reaching the final which sees the Saints face Galway United.
"Lucky enough it just fell to me to score the winning penalty. I thought we should have won in 90 minutes as the lads played well, but now we're into the final and it's a chance to add some silverware early in the season."
Since joining the club, the 28 year old has been steadily building up his match fitness following an injury lay-off in his final months at his previous club Northampton Town. Morris believes he is getting closer to his peak fitness having played in recent leagues games against Sligo Rovers and Galway United, last week's friendly against Manchester City Elite Development Squad and last Monday's game against Shamrock Rovers.
"The fitness is coming along, every day in training it's getting better. I'm still just topping up my minutes at the moment as I haven't played 90 in a long time in a competitive game," Morris told stpatsfc.com. "So it's just a case of me getting as much minutes in and getting that match sharpness back which I think it's coming. I was a little disappointed with my passing on Monday when I came on, but that can't be helped so it's just been a case of knuckling down in training and getting ready for Friday."
With the third placed side facing fourth on Friday night, the importance of the game is not lost on Morris having also experienced his first Dublin derby on Monday. After the Saints' defeat on the opening day of the season to the Hoops in a windswept Tallaght Stadium, he knows the Saints will have to cope with both the opposition and the conditions.
"It was horrible out there on Monday with the wind as it affects the way you play, especially if you try to get the ball down and pass it like we do. But if it's like that again, we'll just keep plugging away and hopefully the result on Friday will come."
|11||St. Patrick's Athletic||10||8|
|12||Galway United FC||9||5|