Drogheda United -v- Sligo RoversThu, Oct 18 2012
Drogheda United welcome newly crowned Airtricity League Champions Sligo Rovers to Hunky Dory’s Park as the Louth men bring down the curtain on an impressive home season. (Kick off 19.05, live on RTE Two).
The home side will look to guarantee a European berth with a win and bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing defeat at UCD.
Manager Mick Cooke spoke ahead of the game, “It should be a great atmosphere, it's always good when the champions come to town and Sligo are deserving Champions. That said we will still be going out there to try and get three points, we always seem to bounce back well after a defeat. “
“We need two more points to guarantee a Europa League place next season and hopefully we can do that with three tomorrow night. We will still be trying to finish as high as possible before the season ends.”
Gavin Brennan and Paul Crowley will both miss the game through suspension while Derek Prendergast will face a late test as he struggles to shake off a virus.
Sligo Rovers come into the game on the back of a thrilling 3-2 victory over St.Patrick’s Athlethic to secure a deserved third league title.
Danny Ventre will sit this one out as he serves a suspension following last weekend’s dismissal. Iarflaith Davoren, Danny North and Alan Keane are all long term absentees through injury.
Manager Ian Baraclough is determined not to let the high standards set by himself and his players slip in the final two league games of the season.
Speaking ahead of the game, Baraclough said, "The suspension is a blow to Danny because he would like to play in the final matches but there is the big consolation that he will lift the trophy next week. We have some injury concerns but there is a strong squad ready to be called upon at any time. Every player is still itching for action so we travel to Drogheda with options.
"We’ve trained during the week, re-focused the minds and there are plenty of reasons why we’re determined to get a result on Friday night. I want to remain unbeaten in the matches because one defeat in a season would be a great record. We’re proud of what we have achieved this season and of a significant advantage when winning the title.
"That is something we want to keep and build on if possible. The supporters will travel in big numbers and they will rightfully be expecting a performance.
"You hope that some of the tension that has come in the last few matches will be gone and the players can play with more freedom but not too lose much of it. We have to maintain the intensity that got us to where we are and Drogheda will be hoping they can catch us on the hop after the emotion of the last week.
"I understood that the people here were craving a league title for so long. It was clear from very early on but I don’t think I got the gist how just how much it means.
"The last few days have been remarkable. People have been coming up to me in tears, of how they have waited their entire lives to see and speaking about how proud they are of what has been achieved. It has been fantastic and we can now try to finish it in the best possible fashion and show why we’ve come out on top."
Referee: Tom Connolly
Sligo overcame Drogheda 3-1 in Hunky Dory’s Park earlier in the season before beating Mick Cooke’s side 4-1 at The Showgrounds.
If Sligo avoid defeat they will equal a 35 year old record of nine away league games unbeaten.
Declan O’Brien (12) and Danny North (14) are the clubs respective top goalscorers.
Drogheda United 2/1, Draw 11/5, Sligo Rovers 13/10.
An entertaining score draw, 2-2.
Drogheda United Injury News: Derek Prendergast (doubtful, virus).
Drogheda United Suspension News: Gavin Brennan and Paul Crowley.
Sligo Rovers Injury News: Iarflaith Davoren, Danny North and Alan Keane.
Sligo Rovers Suspension News: Danny Ventre.