The Bit O’Red will be looking to put a serious dent in Dundalk’s historic treble bid when they welcome Vinny Perth’s side to the Showgrounds on Sunday evening (kick-off is at 5pm).
Liam Buckley has led his re-invigorated Sligo to the last four of the FAI Cup during his first year at the helm in the North West.
Wins over Glebe North, Limerick and UCD have set up a semi-final clash for Rovers against Dundalk – who will have the backing of a sold-out crowd.
Speaking to his club’s media team, Buckley admits that he has belief in his side, but he is also well aware of the dangers that Dundalk pose.
“We will have our game plan, it’s a one-off game. We can’t afford to think this is something where it can be easy at any point over 90 minutes. We have to limit them.
“They will get chances, no doubt about that. We have to play to get chances because it will only happen by design.
“You will see improvement in us in the future because of the work we have done this year and you’ll see it for the rest of this season and next season. We will be better for some of the stuff we have worked on.
“They are a top team; they retained their players this year and brought in one or two to strengthen up and I’m sure they’ll do the same next year. They are at a slightly different level to where we are at, along with Shamrock Rovers as well.
“We are going to have to put in a shift, but we have to believe we are going to do it. I do believe we will do it and we have to have a mentality across the board to say, ‘let’s get at it’.
“Dundalk have 23 or 24 players, they could put out two teams where either team would be in the top three here, if not winning it.
“That is where they are at. The Cup is on the day. You need bit of luck which I’ve had myself over the years. Hopefully we get it on the day.”
Dante Leverock is Sligo’s only absentee – missing out with suspension as Johnny Dunleavy is expected to return from a recent foot injury.
Only 180 minutes away from an incredible treble, Dundalk have Sligo in their way of they are to reach the FAI Cup final on November 3rd.
Vinny Perth’s side secured their fifth title in six years on Monday evening – thanks to an entertaining 3-2 win over Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park.
Their league success coupled with their EA Sports Cup win up in Derry means that the Lilywhites are near some historic territory – with a domestic treble in waiting.
However, the lure of a FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium is something that is hard to ignore – as echoed by Patrick McEleney when speaking to his club’s media team this week.
“We want to get back to the AVIVA Stadium. That is the aim and once we got the Rovers game over us, we are able to talk about it.
“We are going for that third trophy and it would be great to get it, but we aren’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s going to be a tough game and Sligo have beaten us there already this season. It’ll be difficult and they have such a good home record there, so we know it won’t be easy.
“We want a huge crowd there if possible. Sunday isn’t the best time for people to travel but we hope that as many can be there and support us as usual.
“We want to get to the FAI Cup final again and we will be ready for the game.”
John Mountney is Dundalk’s only injury concern ahead of the trip to the Showgrounds as both Jordan Flores and Andy Boyle return to contention having missed out injury recently.
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Both Sligo and Dundalk have met three times already this term, with the Lilywhites winning twice, Sligo securing victory once and there being one draw as well.
The Bit O’Red have had three separate scorers against Vinny Perth’s side so far this season – with Romeo Parkes, Jack Keaney and Dante Leverock all scoring.
Dundalk on the other hand have scored eight against Liam Buckley’s charges in their previous four games this season – with John Mountney (x3), Patrick Hoban (x2), Dane Massey, Sean Murray and Andy Boyle all netting.
Sligo Rovers 13/2; Draw 7/2; Dundalk 3/10.
Sligo Rovers 1 - 2 Dundalk
Suspended: Dante Leverock.
Injured: John Mountney.