Sligo Rovers will welcome Shamrock Rovers to The Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon for what will be the first 'Clash of the Rovers' this season.
The Bit O'Red will have every reason to feel confident ahead of this game, going into it unbeaten and top of the league as they face the current champions who have been in a poor run of form, winning just one of their last five.
Alan Keane will return to action having missed the last two games through a knee injury picked up in the Setanta Sports Cup victory over Crusaders two weeks ago. Joseph Ndo remains doubtful.
Ian Baraclough spoke to sligorovers.com ahead of the game and believes it could be a cagey affair for their early proceedings: “Both teams will look to win the game. The matches last year were very close and I think it could be quite cagey to begin with"
“I don’t think Shamrock played particularly badly against UCD but 2-0 is a tricky lead sometimes and UCD fought back. They will have the same attitude as when we went to Drogheda, wanting to bounce back with a big performance.
“The changing kick-off times have not suited the supporters or the club and this week is something the players have to adjust to. The Showgrounds is at its best on a Saturday night but I know the fans will try to get behind us as best they can and hopefully they’ll see a good game between two of the best sides in the country.”
Shamrock Rovers go into Saturday's game away to Sligo Rovers knowing that this is very much a must win game.
The Hoops currently sit in third place, and a defeat at the weekend would see them fall eight points adrift of Sligo who currently sit on top of the table. Recent form hasn't be great for the champions either, winning just one of their five games in the League.
While Stephen Kenny already knows he will be without striker Ciaran Kilduff, he faces a very worrying prospect of being without four more players as Ken Oman, Billy Dennehy, Aaron Greene and Ronan Finn have all been rated as very doubtful.
Speaking to shamrockrovers.ie, Hoops boss, Stephen Kenny said: “This is a game we are well capable of winning. But to do that, we will need to put in a strong performance.
"Sligo have had some good results lately, but we know we are good enough to win if we play to our abilities."
Referee: Tom Connolly.
There are a total of eight players who have played for both clubs between the two squads. Mark Quigley, Joseph Ndo, Jason McGuinness and Richard Brush for Sligo Rovers and Conor Powell, Chris Turner, Gary McCabe and Aaron Greene for Shamrock Rovers.
If Rafael Cretaro plays on Saturday, it will be his 400th career appearance.
The League's two top scorers will face each other this game. Gary Twigg leads the way with ten for the season so far, while Danny North is just behind one behind the Hoops striker with nine.
Sligo Rovers 7/5; Draw 11/5; Shamrock Rovers 15/8.
Sligo Rovers 2-0 Shamrock Rovers
Sligo Rovers injury news: Joseph Ndo (doubt).
Sligo Rovers suspension news: None.
Shamrock Rovers injury news: Ciaran Kilduff (foot), Ken Oman, Billy Dennehy, Ronan Finn, Aaron Greene (all very doubtful).
Shamrock Rovers suspension news: None.
Alan Finn is a Sligo based reporter who joined the Extratime crew in 2012. If there is a match on in The Showgrounds, it is likely you will find him there.