- Thursday April 18th, 2013 @ 10:14
Saints Host League Leaders
Saint Patrick’s Athletic welcome league champions Sligo Rovers to Richmond Park this Friday in the weekend’s standout fixture as the third placed side host the league leaders.
Both sides go into Friday’s clash in good form and will be looking to extend their respective winning runs.
For the Saints, they’ll be hoping to record their fourth win in a row, while having equalled Cork City’s record of having won their opening eight league games, Ian Barraclough’s side will aim to make the record their own with a ninth successive victory.
For Saints’ fans, the last visit of the RTÉ cameras to Inchicore for a live televised game is fondly remembered.
Goals from Chris Forrester (2), Christy Fagan (2) and John Russell saw the Saints run out 5-1 winners against rivals Shamrock Rovers in April last year.
On top of that, in the last televised game between Pats and Sligo in Inchicore, a 25 yard strike from David McAllister was enough to see Pats edge Sligo on a 1-0 scoreline in April 2010.
Commenting on Monday’s victory against Shelbourne, Saints’ manager Liam Buckley believes the standard produced in the 4-0 win will stand his side in good stead ahead of the challenge Barraclough’s side will pose on Friday.
“Yeah Monday was a good win against Shels and a good performance,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com. “We created quite a lot chances and scored a couple of goals which was nice. The lads played really well and our general play was better. We need to keep improving that further as we go on this season.”
Last season’s games between the sides proved to be entertaining affairs, with the sides playing out draws in their first two clashes last year.
However in the final league fixture between the sides, Sligo edged a thrilling game in the Showgrounds.
Having initially fought back from two goals down, the Saints were denied by a late Mark Quigley penalty which saw the home side claim a 3-2 win.
“We had three really tight and competitive games with Sligo last year that could have gone either way. I’d expect that to be the same this Friday and in later games in the season.
Sligo will bring a good crowd with them, but I know our support will turn up in big numbers as usual.
“A packed Richmond Park on a Friday evening with the game live on television is always a great night, so hopefully we can get a result.
We’d really like Inchicore to be packed, so I’d urge people to get down to the ground on Friday and cheer on the team.”
In team news, goalkeeper Brendan Clarke is set to have a late fitness test on a knee injury sustained in training last weekend.
Pats are however boosted with the news that Shane McFaul is expected to be available for selection having recovered from a groin strain.
For Saints’ midfielder John Russell, the visit of Sligo sees the Galweigan face some of his former teammates from his successful spell at the Showgrounds.
Having won two FAI Cup’s with the club, Russell is looking forward to the challenge of getting the upper hand on the Bit O’Red. The Pats’ man also believes that the Saints are now hitting form after a disrupted start to the season.
“Playing against my old side, I want to do well. The Shels win on Monday has given us confidence going into Friday as with the few games being cancelled a few weeks ago, we were kind of struggling to get into our stride. But the win and scoring a few goals has us in good spirits ahead of Sligo,” Russell admitted to stpatsfc.com.
“They’ve been going well with eight wins so far, but we’re looking forward to the test. We’re looking to be up there with them this season so Friday will be a good benchmark for us. Hopefully we’ll do well on the night, and if we can win the midfield battle on Friday, I think we’ll have a great chance of winning.”