- Thursday October 18th, 2012 @ 15:39
Saints Look To Secure Euro Football
St Pats can secure European football for next season with a result in the Brandywell this Friday as they face fellow FAI Cup finalists Derry City.
The Saints have been successful this year in the league against the Candystripes and will be hoping to add their 2-0 away victory in May and 3-0 home win last month.
However Declan Devine’s side have been on an impressive run of form lately having won three of their last four games in all competitions, including impressive away victories over Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne last week.
Following the 3-2 defeat to Sligo Rovers last week, Saints’ boss Liam Buckley told stpatsfc.com that despite the race for the league title being over, the Saints were still pushing to finish in second place, while he also expressed his desire for a result on Friday to wrap up qualification for the Europa League.
"We have two games left this season and we want to finish second so we’ll be looking for two more results to secure that place, starting firstly with Derry on Friday.
"We can guarantee our place in Europe for next season with a draw in the Brandywell, but we haven’t gone out to play for a draw this season to date, and we won’t intend to start doing that on Friday.
"We had a tough game in Derry earlier in the season, and it’ll be no different this time round but hopefully we can get a result."
In team news the Saints are without the services of Sean O’Connor through suspension, Stephen O’Flynn with an achilles injury, while Mark Rossiter will sit out the game as continues his recovery from a knee injury.
The Saints ranks are boosted however by the return of Ryan Coombes following his impressive spell with the Ireland U19’s, while Jake Kelly could also return having missed last week’s game in Sligo with an ankle injury.
For defender Ian Bermingham, having played in European competition for the last two seasons with Pats, he expressed that qualification for the Europa League next season is something the Saints’ squad fully deserve for the standard of play seen this season, while he also played down any significance Friday’s result would have on the FAI Cup Final between the two sides in the Aviva Stadium on 4th November.
"I’m sure both sides are thinking about the cup final a little bit, but Friday is a league game with three points on offer to both sides.
"I really don’t see it being any issue in relation to the cup final," Bermingham told stpatsfc.com.
"From our point of view the aim is just to go out and win the last two games as we want to finish as high up the table as possible.
"It would be great for the club to qualify for Europe again as we’ve done very really in the past few years, and for the players it always one of the highlights of the season."