A true mid-table clash sees sixth-placed Sligo Rovers entertain St Patrick’s Athletic at the Showgrounds on Matchday 20 (kick-off 7.45pm).
Sligo are just three points behind their Dublin rivals with a game in hand and will be hoping to bounce back after a seven-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 4-0 trouncing in Oriel Park on Friday.
Defender Dante Leverock will be missing as he is away with Bermuda squad, whom he will captain in the Gold Cup this month.
Regan Donelon and Johnny Dunleavy will undergo pre-match fitness tests to assess their muscle injuries.
Bit o’ Red boss Liam Buckley (who last year sat in the opposition dugout) told Sligo Rovers media team he felt they deserved more from the Dundalk game last week.
“We felt the scoreline was harsh last week,” said the Dubliner.
“That said, we have to respond now because it’s another game and we’re back at home. There’s three points between ourselves and Pats so it’s an important match.
“We’re missing Dante but Regan and Johnny are coming along so they may come into play.
“We have been utilising the entire squad recently and that’s going to continue. We have quality players within our ranks.”
Sligo will enjoy home advantage for their next two matches, after difficult away assignments at Oriel and Dalymount Park.
Buckley, who felt both Dundalk penalties last week were ‘soft,’ hopes this will stand his team in good stead.
“It’s good to be back in the Showgrounds but it’s a hard game so have to be at. I don’t think there has been much between the sides this year.
“We’ll give it our all and see where it takes us. We want to show the progress we feel we are making.”
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
It was a frustrating night for St. Patrick’s Athletic at home to Cork City last week but Simon Madden salvaged a point with practically the last kick of the game.
"It has always been tough against them [Sligo],” said midfielder Cian Coleman’s who provided the assist for Madden’s equaliser.
“Mikey's [Drennan] late goal was the difference earlier in the season, and we also won a tight game that finished 2-1.
“Every game in this league is tough but we know we need to start picking up three points week in, week out to start climbing the table.”
Cork native Coleman was delighted with the role he played against his hometown club in his first league start of the season, and the role he played in the equaliser.
"We didn't play our best against Cork last week but we kept going to the end and whatever it was, 95th minute, I got a flick on the ball and Simon was in the right place to finish it to the net.
“I wasn't sure if we were going to get another chance late on, so I just gambled on that long ball, got a header to it and Simon took the chance."
Jamie Lennon won’t be involved as he is on Ireland under-21 duty but Rhys McCabe will be back in the engine room after missing the Cork tie due to suspension.
"Consistency is the key and that is what Harry [Kenny] has been telling us so if we can do that, we can win on Saturday against Sligo and hopefully start to push up a few places in the table,” said Coleman.
Referee: John McLoughlin
Both of these teams have been relatively goal-shy this term.
Only UCD have scored fewer goals than Pats’ 16 while Sligo’s 18 goals only match bottom club Finn Harps.
Pats have won both league encounters between the sides this season. In February, Mikey Drennan plundered all three points for the Inchicore men with an injury time header at the Showgrounds.
In April, Drennan was on the mark again along with Chris Forester as those two first half goals saw Pats safely home.
Along with Derry City, Pats and Sligo are the division’s draw specialists with six each.
Romeo Parkes and Mikey Drennan are the club’s respective top scorers with six apiece.
St. Patrick’s Athletic boast a pretty good record in Sligo. The Bit o’ Red’s last home win against the Dubliners came nearly three years ago.
Sligo Rovers: WDDWL
St. Patrick’s Athletic: WLWLD
Sligo Rovers 7/4; Draw 2/1; St. Patrick’s Athletic 6/4.
Sligo Rovers 1 – 1 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Doubtful: Regan Donelon, John Dunleavy.
St. Patrick’s Athletic
Injured: Conor Clifford.
Doubtful: Lee Desmond.