Sligo Rovers will be hoping to put an end to their losing streak in the SSE Airtricity League when they welcome last season’s champions Dundalk to the Showgrounds on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Bit O’Red have now lost three matches on the bounce, all of which they have failed to find the net in – a run which has seen Liam Buckley’s charges slide into ninth-place in the Premier Division.
That barren run of form was compounded by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of in-form Bohemians last Saturday evening at the Showgrounds but Buckley drew some positives from that particular defeat.
“I thought we were the better side for good periods against Bohs but the red card and the goal early in the second half were big setbacks,” the Sligo manager told the club’s official website.
“We fought well in the circumstances and had a couple of chances but in the end, we lost the game and didn’t score on the night. We have to change that and we have to improve upon being decent in patches.
“We’re trying to build something here over a period of time and it’s a hard, hard league so while we are building, it’s imperative we keep getting points on the board.
“I’d ask the supporters to stick with the players and get behind them on night’s like these because we are up against the league champions and we know how hard it was to get that point in Oriel.
“We showed that night a fighting quality, but we have a lot more than that to our game and it’s up to us to show that too.”
Ronan Murray, who was a league winner with Dundalk last season, is suspended for this fixture and therefore cannot face his former club after he was shown a straight red card in the defeat to Bohs.
Ed McGinty – the goalkeeper that produced a man-of-the-match display against Dundalk on the opening night of the season – also misses out, for the fifth match running, through a finger injury.
Vinny Perth suffered what was his first league defeat as Dundalk head coach last Friday night with the Lilywhites going down to a shock 1-0 loss to St Patrick’s Athletic at a rain-soaked Richmond Park.
In what was an all-round poor performance from Dundalk, a mix-up just before the half-time break between goalkeeper Gary Rogers and Daniel Cleary saw the latter divert the ball into his own net.
“We were disappointed not to pick up the three points last week. We possibly could have squeezed out a draw at the end but we weren’t able to,” Rogers, once of Sligo, told the club’s official website.
“We didn’t get the rub of the green with a few things but we have no complaints. It was disappointing but we have to pick ourselves up We have a busy period coming up now.
“We have two games this weekend and it’s good to have the games so soon after a loss. It’s a busy period for us and we know it’s going to be difficult but we will be ready for it starting tomorrow night.
“Sligo Rovers away is always a tough game. We are looking forward to the game and putting things right.
“We can only do that on the pitch and we want to get back to winning ways. It’s a tough game for us but we are confident we can go there and get the win.”
Robbie Benson, who again misses out, has been on the treatment table since breaking his leg on the opening night of the season when Dundalk were held to a 1-1 draw by Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.
Patrick McEleney and Chris Shields have both resumed full training but this match may come too soon for them with Bohs, who the Lilywhites host on Monday night, being a more realistic target for their return.
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Sligo Rovers have not recorded a home win against Dundalk since they thrashed the Lilywhites 3-0 en route to the league title in September 2012 – Mark Quigley, Gavin Peers and Liam Buchanan all scored that night.
This will be the 231st competitive meeting between Dundalk and Sligo Rovers. The Lilywhites have emerged victorious on 107 of those occasions, while Sligo have won 71 times since the first encounter in 1934.
Having scored 66 goals in 104 appearances, Patrick Hoban is now just a hat-trick away from equalling Dundalk’s club record for League of Ireland goals which has been held by Joey Donnelly since 1939.
Sligo Rovers 8/1; Draw 3/1; Dundalk 2/5
Sligo Rovers 0-2 Dundalk
Injured: Ed McGinty.
Suspended: Ronan Murray.
Injured: Robbie Benson.
Doubtful: Patrick McEleney, Chris Shields.