Limerick will look to cut the distance between themselves and Sligo Rovers at the foot of the table when the sides meet tonight at the Markets Field (kick-off 7.45pm).
Limerick are struggling with form as of late, suffering a heavy 5-0 defeat to Bohemians in their last league outing and have only won one out of the last five games.
Despite some patchy league form, their home form as of late has been more favourable for Tommy Barret’s side.
They've managed wins over Bray Wanderers and Waterford in recent weeks, with their last home loss coming back in June against Shamrock Rovers.
Limerick currently sit ninth in the table on 24 points, five points behind tonight’s visitors Sligo. A win would see the gap reduced to just two points in the race to escape the relegation play-off.
Blues manager Tommy Barrett is well known to all the supporters from his playing days and is aware of the pressure he had on his shoulders taking on the role during preseason.
“We need to win,” Barrett told the club's official website in advance of the game.
“It is as simple as that. There is no point in beating around the bush about it. If we are realistic about getting out of the playoff place, then we need three points here,”
“Sligo are probably not doing as well as they should be with the budget that they have; with the players that they have and even the players they have on the bench.
“They have a good squad. They have signed players, experienced players, that we could not afford in a million years.
“They have experience all over the pitch. It will be a really difficult game for us, but we have to go for it.
“We have had three close meetings already this season and I don’t expect this one to be any different.
“Hopefully, the supporters will come out and get behind us. The vocal backing makes a significant difference to the players.
“I always say it but when there is a good positive atmosphere around the Markets Field it really drives the team on, and we need that now more than ever.”
Limerick will be without the services of Kilian Cantwell (groin) while Eoin Wearen is a doubt knee injury. Centre-half Colman Kennedy is suspended.
Sligo come into Friday’s game after a hard earned 2-1 win on the road away to Derry two weeks ago.
The Bit O' Red currently occupy eight spot in the table, five points ahead of their hosts in what is a relegation dogfight.
A win will boost Sligo’s hopes of survival as they look over take Bohemians into seventh spot. The Bit o' Red have a game in hand to hopefully keep them afloat.
Sligo have had a patchy run of form recently, managing to win just two games out of five, but their away form has been much better with three wins out of the last five games.
“We had our own meeting Tuesday, which was the day after the players had met,” said manager Ger Lyttle following last week's surprise FAI Cup defeat to First Division Longford Town.
“We had our discussion which was open and honest and in fairness the lads have trained well and focused on Friday.
“In the Longford game we had more of the ball as you’d expect but taking chances has been our downfall.
“I could analyse the game for as long as we want, but at the end of the day we didn’t take our chances which is what decides football matches.
“I think the last few days have been tough for everyone, but the time for talking is long over. The lads made the gesture with their wages on their own and I think it showed leadership.
“It came from themselves. They wanted to stand up and respond and make a decision. I think it’s one of the first times we’ve really seen that. He added speaking to SligoRovers.com
“It’s my responsibility on where we are. I pick the team, I’m in charge. I’m not throwing my team under the bus. The results are my responsibility. Most importantly, we are all in this together.
“I think if we stick together we can turn things. The fans voiced their opinion last Saturday as they had the right to do because they pay their money.
“We can talk about wages handed back, we can talk about what went for us or against us, but all that matters is the results we get. That’s all that can be said.
“I’ve said repetadly there will be ups and downs given we are trying to build something and likely more downs where it takes time. I feel we have the nucleus of a good side and I believe in our players.
“It’s a blow to be missing some important players, but we have players to come in. I was at the Cockhill game last weekend where Limerick did enough to win the game.
“We all know what is riding on the game. We go there knowing what we have to do.”
Sligo will be without Kyle Callan-McFadden and David Cawley who are both suspended, while Caolan McAleer is ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Referee: Robert Harvey.
The teams have met three times this season with Limerick winning the first tie 1-0 at the showgrounds while Sligo managed to win the next 2-1 at the Markets Field. The last game ended in a scoreless draw.
Limerick have failed to overcome the Bit O’Red in their last 3 meetings at the Markets Field, losing once and two scoreless draws.
Limerick 3/1; Draw 2/1; Sligo Rovers 1/3
Limerick 1 – 1 Sligo Rovers
Injured: Kilian Cantwell.
Doubtful: Eoin Wearen.
Suspended: Colman Kennedy.
Injured: Caolan McAleer.
Suspended: Kyle Callan-McFadden, and David Cawley
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|Colm Walsh O'Loghlen
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