UCD -v- St. Patrick's AthleticSun, Jul 22 2012
UCD AFC welcome St. Patrick’s Athletic to The Bowl on Sunday in what will be the Students second Dublin derby in seven days, kick-off 3pm.
While recent television coverage has called into question UCD's contribution to the league, Martin Russell has remained positive about the direction in with his team is heading. Talking to www.ucdsoccer.com ahead of the game he was keen to point out the positive strides his squad has taken this season.
"In the recent games there has been a thin line (in terms of results), going back to the Dundalk game where we draw, we could of easily gotten a win out of that, we have lost to Derry where we could of got a draw and the same last week, where we lost by the one goal. I don't want to keep harping on about it, we have been close but not close enough and we have to keep on pushing."
"It’s not the fact that we are leaking goals, but we are not converting some of the good chances that we create. I think if you look at some of our heavy defeats last year, we have not seen that type of performance this year, there is signs of improvement there. Considering our (lack) experience our squad has we know it would be a tougher year this year and this has proven to be the case."
"We have shown positive signs, if you look at some of the results that we have achieved, it is far from doom and gloom, we are realistic about our development of this team, there have been some positive signs and it is nothing a win would not help."
Addressing recent media coverage Martin was wanted to highlight the fact that pressure comes from within stating: "Recent comments have been a little bit patronizing, hinting that there is no pressure, the pressure is from within, any young player that comes to our club is asked to reach their maximum potential in football. The aspirations and ambitions of our players are no different to the players at Dundalk or any other premier division club. So to say that they just have their exams to worry about, to ridicule the fact that they have chosen a path where football goes alongside their study is the wrong type of remark and the wrong type of message that should be going out there."
Liam Buckley's St. Pat’s side have been performing well in the league this season, with a their push for a league title still going well and an admirable, albeit slightly disappointing result mid-week in Europe it will be tough challenge for UCD even with the absence of club captain Conor Kenna.
"Pats have assembled a good side that are challenging for the league, at whatever stage that you meet them you will have play well to beat them. Their confidence is sky high; we know that it is going to be a difficult game. But as we have shown against Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers this year, on our day we are capable of getting our results."
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC
Following their midweek draw in the Europa League, the Saints return to league action with this Sunday’s trip to the Belfield Bowl as they aim to return to winning ways in domestic competition.
Pats will be hoping to bounce back their second defeat of the season in the league after last week, Drogheda United claiming a 2-0 win in Richmond Park through goals from Gavin Brennan and Peter Hynes.
However after the 1-1 draw Siroki Brijeg in Bosnia during the week, Saints’ boss Liam Buckley outlined that spirits in the squad were high after the result gained on Thursday.
“The team put in a good shift on Thursday night. The conditions (heat and humidity) were difficult but we played to our strengths and although we were disappointed with conceding the late goal it was an excellence performance and the tie is still alive going into the return match next week.”
With German side Hannover 96 awaiting the winners of Pats and Siroki, Buckley warned that his side would be quickly punished by Martin Russell’s UCD side if they weren’t 100% focused on Sunday’s league game, citing the Saints’ recent league record in the Bowl of three defeats in the last four games as proof of the challenge that the Students would pose.
“UCD play a similar style of football to ourselves, so it should be an entertaining game for the supporters. Martin (Russell) will have his team well prepared and will have play to our best if we are to win and close the gap on the top two.”
Former UCD captain and current Saints’ skipper Conor Kenna misses Sunday’s game through suspension, while Mark Rossiter continues to be sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery.
With the UCD match being the Saints’ sixth game of the month to date, Buckley is likely to make changes to his side.
Referee: Rob Rogers
UCD manager Martin Russell is a former St Pats player most notably winning the Premier Division with the Saints in 1999.
St Pats have lost three of the last four ties they have played at The Bowl against UCD.
UCD have had three clean sheets in the Premier Division this season, compared to St Pats’ eight clean sheets.
UCD 4/1 Draw 13/5 St Patrick’s Athletic 8/13
UCD 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 2
UCD Injury News: Chris Mulhall(groin), Sean Russell (back), Ger Barron (foot), Cillian Morrison (ankle), Graham Rusk (knee).
UCD Suspension News: None
St Patrick’s Athletic Team News: Mark Rossiter (knee).
St Patrick’s Athletic Suspension News: Conor Kenna.
Brian Fitzgerald is a Dublin-based reporter who has followed Cork City since the mid 1990's. Brian can be contacted at email@example.com or followed on twitter @B_Twitzgerald