With no European football at the Showgrounds this season, Gerrard Lyttle has been able to put his focus solely on the league as his Sligo side look to climb out of the relegation zone.
The Connacht men occupy the final relegation spot behind St Patricks Athletic on goal difference, however a win or a draw will see them overtake the Saints.
They were on the wrong end of a 2-0 score line last week against Bohemians however as a goal in each half from Keith Ward and Dinny Corcoran sank the Bit O Red. It was another lacklustre performance from a side who’ve won just once in their last ten games, that in came back on the sixth of May as they dispatched of Limerick by three goals to nil.
If they’re to avoid falling into the dreaded trap door to the First Division, they’ll need to tighten up on the defensive end and put a decent string of results together before it’s too late.
New signings Rhys McCabe and Benny Igiehon are unavailable for tonight’s games as they couldn’t be registered in time. Midifelder Gary Armstrong returns to the squad after returning from his Loan Spell at Ballinamallard.
Former Peterorough United man Daniel Kearns returned to play an hour of last week’s loss to Bohemians having missed the previous eight games through injury.
"It's time to stand up and be counted. We can't keep relying on other results,” Lyttle told the club's website.
“Teams like Bohemians, Galway and Finn Harps have had little runs at some point in the season and I really feel we're due. We just need that lucky break to get that one win and I feel it's coming.
"The backing we have had is unbelievable. We've been getting crowds sometimes approaching 2,000 people and as I say to the boys, imagine that it would be like if we were winning games.
"Daniel (Kearns) did well on his return. He makes space, can find a pass and will get stronger as the games come. We're disappointed not to have the new lads but there's nothing we can do. We have players that can win the game and it would be fantastic to start a run from this game.
“Shamrock Rovers are a strong side. They could have their eye on Europe right now and it's a comedown when you come back from a win there to a league game in between, so we want to catch them on the hop if they are distracted.”
The Hoops return to domestic action after their exploits in Europe midweek, where they overcame Icelandic opposition in Stjarnan by a goal to nil thanks to a first half strike from Gary Shaw. The win will have put a bit more spring in their step as they eye up all three points which would see them jump above Bray and into the top three.
They romped to a 4-1 win over Drogheda United last week thanks to a solid all-round team performance which helped showcase some of their exciting youth prospects as Trevor Clarke, Aaron Bolger and James Doona all grabbed a goal.
Graham Burke misses out as he serves the last of his three-game suspension after seeing red against St Pats, while David McAllister returns having served his one match ban. Paul Corry remains absent for The Hoops as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.
Manager Stephen Bradley spoke about his delight after the European Qualifier as he looked onto the clash against Sligo stating;
"We're obviously really happy with Thursday's result and the performance. I thought first half we played some good football and maybe could have had one or two more goals,” he told the club's website.
“It's a great feeling. I explained that to the players after the game that away wins in Europe are verY difficult to come by.”
He also commented on the status of the squad and in particular Luke Byrne and Darren Meenan:.
“Luke Byrne is going to be fine. Even with what happened with his shoulder, he said to me before the game that it's not going to stop him playing, which typifies Luke's attitude. He wants to train every day and play every game. Darren Meenan trained today so that was good as well.”
“Everyone came through the game fine so they're fully fit and ready to go up to Sligo, work hard and hopefully get the win. We might look to freshen up certain areas but there won't be any drastic changes. We played on Thursday, the lads are professional and they recovered well.”
Referee: Neil Doyle
It was the Hoops who won the last Battle of the Rovers at home earlier in the season with Brandon Miele’s first half strike enough to separate the sides.
This however will be manager Gerrard Lyttle’s second game against Shamrock Rovers this year as he brought his Cliftonville side to Tallaght for a pre-season friendly while he was still in charge of the Belfast side with a late Simon Madden goal snatching victory for Stephen Bradley’s men.
Sligo Rovers 11/4; Draw 12/5, Shamrock Rovers evens.
Sligo Rovers 1-1 Shamrock Rovers
Suspended: Kyle Callan-McFadden.
Injured: Paul Corry.
Doubtful: Luke Byrne, Darren Meenan.
Suspended: Graham Burke.