St Patrick’s Athletic entertain Sligo Rovers tomorrow (Saturday) evening in Richmond Park at 7.30 pm knowing that a victory will go a long way to securing a European spot for next season.
Rovers will be hoping to cement their position as league leaders with European qualification in their sights next season.
Sligo Rovers are currently in pole position at the top of the League table on 67 points with St. Pats trailing them by eight points in fourth position.
However St. Pats will be no pushovers as they aim to lift spirits ahead of next Monday’s Leinster Senior Cup Final and the FAI Ford cup semi-final next Friday.
The Saints will be looking to continue their impressive home record which has seen them lose just once in 22 games at Richmond Park in all competitions this season.
St. Pats will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run at home, where they remain unbeaten since March, despite being out of contention for this season’s league title.
St. Pats boss Pete Mahon is aware of the challenge facing them on Saturday.
“Sligo are the in-form team at the moment. They’ll smell blood and will go for the juggler, that’s how they’ll approach the game”, said Mahon.
“They want to win the league and we want to qualify for Europe, there is a lot at stake.”
Despite his positive outlook, Mahon has several injury worries ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
Sean O’Connor will miss tomorrow’s game having picked up a hamstring injury against UCD on Monday, while Dave Mulcahy and Danny North are both nursing hamstring injuries and remain doubtful.
Shane McFaul who also missed last Monday’s match with a virus is not expected to line out against Sligo.
However, Stephen Bradley has recovered from the same virus and is available for selection.
Daryl Kavanagh is suffering from tendentious of the knee and is also a doubt for the match.
Sligo on the other hand, will arrive at Richmond Park tomorrow with a fully fit squad to choose from.
Rovers welcomed Jason McGuinness and Eoin Doyle back from injury for the 5-0 win over Dundalk on Tuesday night.
McGuinness started the game while Doyle came on as a substitute and scored.
It was also a good night for Liam Martin, a member of the IT Sligo Scholarship scheme who made his first appearance for the club from the substitute’s bench.
Despite achieving a record points total and number of wins this season, Rover’s boss Paul Cook has emphasised the importance of remaining focused on the their remaining three league games.
“It is a wonderful position to be in for the club and we’re going to do our best to try to get as many points on the board”, said Cook.
“Obviously it would be preferable to have it in our hands and the only way we can do that is focus on our own games.”
Speaking about tomorrow’s game Cook said: “We will treat this one as any other. Richmond Park is one of the hardest places to go in the league. St Patrick’s Athletic make it very hard for teams and we know that from experience. Every game between the sides has been close this year and I don’t expect this one to be any different.”
Richmond Park has played host to 16 Premier League matches for St Pats so far this season. On home ground St Patricks Athletic FC has won 7, drawn 8 and lost 1 match, while Sligo Rovers has played 16 Ireland Premier League matches this season away from home.
On away ground Sligo Rovers has won 8, drawn 5 and lost 3 matches.