- Thursday March 8th, 2012 @ 16:23
SAINTS WELCOME BOLGER FOR RETURN TO ORIEL
St Pat's travel to Dundalk on Friday hoping to extend their run of nine away league games unbeaten against the Lilywhites.
The Saints last league defeat in Oriel Park was a 2-0 loss in November 1998, a side ironically then managed by Liam Buckley in his first spell as the Saints' manager and which featured assistant manager Trevor Croly in defence.
Buckley has fonder memories of the ground though, as he was part of the St Pat's 1995/96 league winning side which clinched the League of Ireland title against the Lilywhites thanks to a late goal from Paul ‘Soupy' Campbell in a 2-1 win.
Ahead of Friday's clash with Dundalk, Liam Buckley told STPATSFC.COM that he expected a difficult game.
“They got a good point up in Monaghan last week so we're expecting a difficult game.
“They've got a lot of new bodies and young players in their team Iike ourselves, so it will be a tough test.
“I think it is going to be a very tight and competitive league this year so there will be no easy games.
“You don't want to have a bad start to the league so it is important we get a result.”
Jake Kelly misses out for the Saints after his red card last week against Bray Wanderers while Christy Fagan will serve the second of a three match ban carried over from last season.
Buckley welcomes Greg Bolger back into his squad from suspension meaning the Wexford native could be set for a debut against his former club.
Buckley expressed his pleasure at the return of Bolger, and gave an update on the fitness of another pre-season signing, Aidan Price.
“It's great to have Greg Bolger back from suspension, but unfortunately now Jake Kelly is missing along with Christy [Fagan].
“Aidan Price is in training and is another couple of weeks away, but otherwise we've a full squad to choose from.”
Speaking exclusively to stpatsfc.com, Bolger admitted that he did not expect to make such a quick return to Oriel Park, while commenting on the threat the Lilywhites pose.
“It's ironic alright that it's my first game, but I'm just delighted to be back available to play regardless who the opposition is.
"The whole starting team from last year is more or less gone, apart from Peter Cherrie, Mark Griffin and Stephen McDonnell really. But I know of the younger lads, and I've worked with Seán McCaffrey and Darius Kearns before so I know it'll be a tough game.
"While emphasising that Dundalk will be tough opponents, Bolger also was quick to add that starting every week for the Saints will be no easy task either as he looks to make his first league appearance for the club.
“I'm just hoping that I'll be playing after missing the game last week, I don't want to be sitting in the stand. But the squad is big and there's great competition for every position, we're all trying to make each other better players and it's really competitive in training. ”