St Patrick's Athletic -v- Sligo RoversThu, Aug 23 2012
ST PATRICK’S ATH
St Pats entertain Sligo Rovers in the only Premier Division game this Friday in what is a must win game for the Inchicore side.
Lying eleven points behind the league leaders with a game less played, the Saints will be looking at the game as a great way to haul their way back into the title race. Having suffered something of a European hangover in their last home game against Bray, St Pat’s recovered with a 1-0 win in Oriel Park last Monday, courtesy of a Sean O’Connor strike just after the break.
On the injury front, St Pats are without Dean Kelly, Stephen O’Flynn and Mark Rossiter, whilst former Sligo midfielder John Russell will require a late fitness test. Kenny Browne and Darren Meenan will provide a timely boost to the squad, returning from their respective suspensions.
St Pats boss Liam Buckley is relishing the chance to mix it up with the leagues finest. “Sligo have been the league’s best side this year to date," he told stpatsfc.com. "We found it tough up at the Showgrounds earlier in the year, but that said we easily could have won the game too. Sligo are going really well at the minute, but it’s a game we’re looking forward to and looking to get a result from."
Saints skipper Conor Kenna will make his 99th appearance for the club, and scored the winner between the sides in the corresponding fixture in October of last year. He believes this game is a must win, but recognises Sligo are quality.
“It’s a game all the lads are really up for. A few lads came into the team against Dundalk and that again shows the competition for places here. There’s no denying it will be a real challenge tomorrow as Sligo’s lead at the top of the table really shows how far they are ahead of everyone else. It will be tough, but we’ve got to go out there to try and win if we want to close that gap to them.”
Sligo have taken four points in total from Dublin in recent times, one from Shamrock Rovers, three from Shelbourne before also snatching all three from UCD in the Showgrounds on Monday. Added to this, the Bit o’ Red have only been beaten once this league campaign, way back in May to the aforementioned UCD.
Pascal Millien is a doubt for Sligo, with a slight hamstring injury, and a decision on his involvement will be taken on Friday afternoon. Danny North is the only other absentee for Sligo, due to a cruciate ligament injury.
Manager Ian Baraclough feels that this game will be one for the purists. “It is likely to be a footballing game and it might be similar to our game with UCD where the team that is positive and clinical in front of goal will get the upper hand and that is the mentality we’ll take into it.”
Baraclough also recognises that St Pats will be gunning to get back into the league title race. “This is the first of two meetings with St Patrick’s Athletic, which shows just how much there is to play for over the next nine games. They will feel that this is a chance to put themselves right into contention and we have to take on that challenge and go out with the right approach and show we can deal with it.” Baraclough told www.sligorovers.com, before adding “We have to keep doing what we’re doing and take each game as it presents itself. We’ve had three good results in recent matches and we’re building week-on-week. It was very pleasing to take seven points from those three games, and we need to keep it going on Friday night.”
The last meeting of these two sides was a cracker. Sligo took the lead before a St Pats equaliser and a late penalty miss from Christy Fagan resulted in a share of the spoils.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
St Patrick’s Athletic boast the best defence in the league, having conceded just 14 goals in 20 games. On the flip side, Sligo boasts the best attack, netting 39 goals in 21 games, nearly two per game.
Sligo Rovers have not beaten St Pats in Richmond Park since the 6th of October 2009. Current Sligo player Raffaele Cretaro scored both goals in a 2-0 win.
Friday’s game will be St Pats 31st of this campaign, more than any other side in the league.
Home 17/10, Draw 11/5, Away 6/4.
1-1. Both sides will be raring to go and I just can’t separate them.
St Pats Injury News: Dean Kelly, Stephen O’Flynn, Mark Rossiter.
St Pats Suspension News: None.
Sligo Injury News: Danny North.
Sligo Suspension News: None.
Damien Byrne joined the Extratime.ie team for the 2012 season. He is a Dublin based freelance reporter who is partial to a Friday in Richmond Park, and can be contacted at email@example.com or on twitter at @damienbyrne92