St Patrick's Athletic return to Irish Daily Mail Cup action as they host Limerick FC on Friday night in Richmond Park as they bid to advance to the Quarter-Finals (kick-off 7.45pm).
Following an 8-0 win over Pike Rovers in the last round, the Saints are set to face a strong challenge from runaway SSE Airtricity League First Division leaders Limerick in the third round of the FAI Cup.
Managed by former Saints' midfielder and winner of two league titles during his playing career in Inchicore, Martin Russell, the Saints will also be looking to get the better of a side they will also meet in the EA Sports Cup Final on September 17.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com ahead of Friday's FAI Cup encounter, manager Liam Buckley reflected on his side's two recent league wins before assessing the strengths of opponents Limerick.
"We've picked up a few results lately so the aim is to keep that going between now and the end of the season. Friday's game is the first of two big games we have coming up against Limerick and we'll have to do our homework and be at our best against them as Martin [Russell] has them going great this year," Buckley said.
"It's going to be tight on Friday night so the players know they have to be at it from minute one to 90 plus at the end. We've had success in this competition recently so the hunger is there to achieve that again."
In team news, the Saints welcome Billy Dennehy back after he served a one match suspension, while both Mark Timlin and Keith Treacy are in contention to start having returned to the Saints' squad in last Monday's 1-0 win away to Longford Town. Sam Verdon is a doubt though as he recovers from concussion.
Ahead of Friday's game, Saints' star Lee Desmond is fully aware of the challenge facing the Saints as Limerick travel to Richmond Park looking for victory. However despite their First Division status, Desmond knows that the 21 point league leaders are a team to be reckoned with.
"Winning every week builds confidence, so it'll be a really tough game against Limerick. They're definitely going to be in the Premier Division next year, and having kept a lot of their team from last year, they're very settled. With players like Aaron Greene in their side, we're not going to underestimate them," he told Darren Cleary in 98FM's League of Ireland podcast.
Under 21 Republic of Ireland international Desmond has featured in midfield recently for Liam Buckley's side and the young Dubliner admits to relishing his new role having featured in defence up until now for the Saints.
"We had a few injuries recently in the League Cup and Liam said to me that he'd throw me into midfield. I wasn't expecting it at all and hadn't played there before. I've just been sitting in front of the back four really, and if I win the ball back it's just a case of keep it simple. I'm still learning the role a lot to be honest, but I'm really enjoying it," he admitted.
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