Shamrock Rovers v Sligo RoversSun, Aug 12 2012
This, quite simply, is the game that could take Shamrock Rovers' aspirations off the life support machine and into rehabilitation while a loss will see the title charge declared dead and sent to the morgue. The Hoops start this game 7 points off the league leaders and they cannot afford to lose any more ground to Sligo Rovers, the side who have marched their way on to the top of the Airtricity League table.
Under pressure manager Stephen Kenny will have to deal without Aaron Greene and Graham Gartland who will miss the game through knee and back injuries respectively. Kenny will also have to sweat over the fitness of Pat Sullivan and Chris Turner, as they will undergo fitness tests ahead of the game. Sullivan is struggling with an ankle injury while Turner is hoping that his thigh injury will heal sufficently so he can face his former club.
Ahead of the game the Hoops boss was keen to point out that his side has made progress in recent weeks, especially in league games against UCD and Derry, "We won our last two league games, and have kept three clean sheets in a row in the league, and we will be looking to keep that going tomorrow night. The lads have worked very hard during the week and know that a win tomorrow night would be very important for our season. It is a big game, and we will go into the game fully focused on getting the win. We know it will be a tough game, but we are more than ready for that."
The Bit O'Red will go into this weeks game full of confidence after a convincing 4-1 victory in the league against second placed Drogheda United which saw them extend their lead, albeit temporarily, over the Boynesiders. As it stands, they lie only one point ahead of the Drogs, and a win will see them out of touching distance for another week.
The loss of influential midfielder David Cawley, who will miss this game through suspension, coupled with the long term injury sustained to talisman Danny North is one that will hinder the Sligo Rovers squad. Aside from that however, the cup winners have no injury concerns ahead of the game in Tallaght.
“We’re going to there to win the game and that is the only approach we take.", signalled manager Ian Baraclough ahead of Monday's game. "Whatever the result is, I don’t think anything is decided with 11 games to go in the season so this is just another game for us to try and win."
Baraclough seemed wary of the threat posed by the current league champions. “Our only thought is trying to win the game, we are going into the lion’s den as such and I think that given the result earlier in the season we’ll face a side that might still be hurting from that. I’m sure Stephen Kenny will remind his players of that defeat and they are coming into this game in improved form."
“It is the type of game we really look forward to and everyone is fit bar our top scorer Danny North. That is a wonderful situation for me and our preparation has been very good this week."
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Shamrock Rovers 5/4 Draw 9/4 Sligo Rovers 2/1
A scrappy and tight game that will end in a score draw. 1-1.
Sligo Rovers Injury News: Danny North
Sligo Rovers Suspension News: David Cawley
Shamrock Rovers Injury News: Graham Gartland, Aaron Greene; Chris Turner (Doubt), Pat Sullivan (Doubt)
Shamrock Rovers Suspension News: None
is a full time Physics student in Trinity College Dublin, but his deep love of all things football is one that simply has to show somewhere. You can contact Christopher on Twitter @ChristopherDavy