St Patrick's Athletic travel south to the Leeside for their SSE Airtricity League fixture against Cork City (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Saints will be looking to bounce back following last week's 1-0 defeat away to Bray Wanderers, while John Caulfield's side will be looking to follow up on their win against Shamrock Rovers last Monday.
Ahead of Friday's game in Turner's Cross, Saints manager Liam Buckley has told stpatsfc.com that striker Christy Fagan is set to undergo a late fitness test after he was substituted early in last Saturday's defeat to Bray. Elsewhere, both goalkeepers Brendan Clarke (suspended) and Conor O'Malley (ankle injury) are set to miss out, with Patrick Jennings Jr. set to deputise.
"Friday's game is set to be a really tough game for us as we're facing one of the top sides in the country. John Caulfield has a very strong squad and Turner's Cross is always a great venue to play in as Cork are a very well supported side," Buckley admitted.
"We'll be looking to go and compete with them. They play good football so it should be a good game for the neutral. Following last week's defeat, we need to try and put things right. I felt we were a little unlucky, but we still need to improve on a few things so we've been working hard on putting them right in training this week."
For Republic of Ireland U21 international Sean Hoare, the chance to test himself against some of the Cork squad is one he is relishing. The defender, who recently returned to first team action, told stpatsfc.com that both he and the Saints' squad are determined to bounce back on last week's loss with a positive result in Cork.
“Last week was frustrating as we had one slight lapse in concentration, and Bray got in for a goal and that was it. We created some chances through Christy Fagan and Jamie McGrath and if one of those goes in, it's a completely different game and we're talking about a positive result. But that's what happens in football. We just have to make sure we try cut out the mistakes and keep doing the right things,” Hoare admitted.
Friday's game against Cork City sees the Saints come up against former players Greg Bolger and Kenny Browne, and Hoare has admitted that both the two former Saints and other 2016 signings for Cork make them one of the strongest teams in the SSE Airtricity League.
“I've been in touch with Kenny a bit since he's moved to Cork and he's getting on well there so I'm happy for him. We all know what good players both he and Greg are so we're in for a tough game on Friday. They've added a good few players to their squad so they now have a lot of different options and are a lot more complete a team.
“That being said though, we know that we've a strong team this year and if we do our own stuff, we can get a result.”
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