ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC
St Patrick's Athletic host Shamrock Rovers on Friday evening in front of the RTÉ cameras knowing that a win would bring them to within a point of their visitors. Pat's go into the match unbeaten but hoping to break a run of draws that has seen them slip behind the league leaders. The low-scoring Saints will be boosted by the return of front man and former Hoop, Dean Kelly meaning that another Rovers alumnus - Aidan Price - is the only absentee.
Pat's fullback Ian Bermingham, who transferred between the sides ahead of the 2010 season, told stpatsfc.com that he is relishing the encounter. “I think with Rovers having won the league last year, everybody wants to play them, give them a good game and beat them. We’ll be no different. We’ll be going out to win the game and we’re confident that we can win.”
Manager Liam Buckley, meanwhile, spoke with cautious optimism about the champions' visit. “You look at themselves and Sligo, they’ll be the top two to beat this year. If you mix it in with them, you have a chance. We need to turn our performances into results, so if we can start on Friday it’ll be great."
Despite hosting a side currently sitting top of the league and whose goal tally eclipses that of all other teams, the Saints defence has performed strongly in the opening five games, meaning that a tight match should be in store.
Shamrock Rovers will go into the match high on confidence having easily overcome their other city rivals Bohemians and Shelbourne of late, scoring six goals without conceding any. Sitting pretty at the top of the table, Rovers have dropped just two points so far and are favourites to come out on top on Friday evening. Though this is their first away derby of the season, their record in Richmond Park has been good of late, unbeaten since 2009.
Despite leaving it late to break the deadlock against Bohs last week, Rovers have been in free-scoring form, and welcome the suspended Gary McCabe and Conor Powell back into the fold. However, a number of players remain out for the Hoops, fullback Kerrea Gilbert joining longer-term absentees due to a hamstring problem.
Rovers boss Stephen Kenny, anticipating an attacking encounter, talked up the match speaking to shamrockrovers.ie. "Pat’s will take the game to us, and I expect them to attack from the off, but we will do likewise. It has all the makings of a very good game." Despite speaking of his respect for the hosts, Kenny knows that his side will be the favourites. "We’ve shown we have a tremendous capacity to win games, especially late on, and that gives us confidence ahead of the game."
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Rovers, at 14, have scored the most goals in the league so far. At two, St Pat's have conceded the joint fewest.
Both sides' most recent games have been against Bohemians and Shelbourne, Rovers winning both with six goals scored (both at home), Pat's drawing both with one goal scored (both away).
Pat's last beat Rovers in Inchicore on the last day of the 2009 season, current New England Revolution player Ryan Guy heading the goal that secured the home side's Premier Division status.
St Patrick's Athletic 12/5; Draw 21/10; Shamrock Rovers 6/5.
St Patrick's Athletic Injury News: Aidan Price.
St Patrick's Athletic Suspension News: None.
Shamrock Rovers Injury News: Ciaran Kilduff, Conor Winn, Stephen O’Donnell, Kerrea Gilbert.
Shamrock Rovers Suspension News: None.