Date: 7 p.m. April 25, 2009
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
The Hoops come into this game on the back of an impressive away win against Galway United, where Gary Twigg netted the first hat trick of the season. Manager Michael O’Neill is pleased with his side’s current run of form.
“It was an important win for us as it keeps our momentum going. We’re now unbeaten in our last five games and haven’t lost since the home defeat against Derry City.
“Everyone reacted very positively to that defeat and we’ve now we have a chance to build on it once more and keep ourselves up near the top of the Premier Division.”
Despite St. Pat’s hit and miss start to the season, O’Neill believes the Inchicore side will be challenging for a top four finish come the end of the season.
“They’ve had a very mixed start to their season, with four wins and four defeats, but Jeff Kenna will have them well prepared for this, their first visit to Tallaght Stadium.
“They’ll certainly be one of the sides who will be challenging for a top four place, and we have to make sure that we’re in there as well. We’re really looking forward to this game.
“This will be our first Saturday game at Tallaght Stadium, which is our designated day for home games. We’re eager to get into that rhythm of playing on Saturday evenings.”
Clean sheets the key
St. Pat’s manager Jeff Kenna knows that Saturday’s game is important with both sides on the same number of points in mid table in the Premier Division.
“Saturday’s game is a huge game. It’s another Dublin Derby against a team on their own turf and we know how difficult those games can be.
“They had a great result in Galway last week and we’re well aware that it’s going to be a difficult game for us.”
The Pats’ manager also hopes that this week will see his defence return to the form they showed earlier in the campaign when they kept three clean sheets in a row.
“I was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet last week (against Drogheda) but we’ll be looking to get back to that this week.
“As I’ve said before clean sheets are the core issue for any successful side and you give yourself a great chance of winning games by doing so. We’re not doing that at the moment but that’s where we are looking at being.”
Shamrock Rovers have injury doubts over Stephen Bradley (thigh), Pat Flynn (hamstring) and Ian Bermingham (calf), all of whom missed the Galway encounter.
They’re joined by Corie Treacy (calf), but manager Michael O’Neill remains upbeat about them making the squad for the Hoops’ first Dublin derby in Tallaght.
“We’re hopeful that they’ll all be fit in time for the Saint Pats’ game,” he says. “I’d certainly be optimistic that two or three of them should be available by Saturday evening.
“We’ve had a really good week in training, everyone’s working hard – and we’ve the benefit of an extra day’s training as we’re finally playing a home game on a Saturday.”
Jeff Kenna has no new injury worries following last weekend’s hard fought victory over Drogheda United. That means that Gareth O’Connor and Daragh Ryan both come into contention having trained all week. Both were on the bench last week but were not 100% fit as the Saints’ squad was pushed to its limit.
The injury list still contains long term absentees Mark Leech, Gary Dempsey (both broken legs) and Bobby Ryan who continues rehabilitation following a knee operation at the beginning of the year.
Also out is Glen Fitzpatrick and Kenna told stpatsfc.com that he will remain out for the foreseeable future, having collapsed on the pitch in advance of the game against Bohemians two weeks ago.
“Glen is thankfully out of hospital but has to return to see the neurologist in five weeks time. Until that point he won’t be involved but we’ll work on his fitness levels while he’s out without doing anything intensive.”
At the back Kenna has David Partridge back from an automatic one match suspension after his red card at Dalymount two weeks ago. Right back Stephen Maher also looks set to start for his third consecutive game after a knee injury as he gets himself back to full match fitness.