- Thursday May 17th, 2012 @ 14:36
Saints Start Second Round Of Matches At Bray
Bray Wanderers are the opposition for Liam Buckley's Saints this Friday as his side travel to the Carlisle Grounds having completed the first series of league fixtures in the 2012 season unbeaten.
The Saints opened the campaign with a 1-0 home win against Pat Devlin's side on 2nd March, Dean Kelly scoring the winner on his full début for Pats, to give the Saints the perfect start to the season.
Last year's away fixtures against the Seagulls proved to be fruitful also as two visits to the Carlisle Ground yielded six points – the Saints ran out 3-0 winners last September, while they had a hard fought 1-0 win in May last year thanks to a late Danny North goal.
However, speaking to stpatsfc.com, Saints' manager Liam Buckley was keen to emphasise that Friday's game would be no walkover, citing Bray's 3-2 victory in Richmond Park last season – the only home league game the Saints lost in 2011, as evidence that Pat Devlin's side will be difficult opponents.
"Bray gave us a really tough game at the start of the year, we know they'll be strong as Pat always has them fired up when they play at home.
"They were very good in their last two home games to Bohs and Shamrock Rovers, and before that they were very unlucky to lose 2-1 to Sligo.
"Last week they had a good win against Dundalk, with players like Jason Byrne and Kieran Marty Waters particularly playing well."
Buckley went on to confirm that both James Chambers and Mark Rossiter remain on the injury list, while Stephen O'Flynn continues to recover from a thigh strain. In more positive news though, the Saints are boosted by the return of Greg Bolger from a one match ban.
Friday's game also represents the return of Saints' winger Jake Kelly to the Carlisle Grounds to face his former side.
Kelly played an influential part in Bray's last home league win against the Saints, scoring twice in a 3-2 result in August 2010, while the winger made the headlines for the wrong reasons having been sent off against Bray on the opening day of the season.
Kelly, 22 next month, admitted he learned a lot from the incident and since then feels he has adjusted well to life with the Inchicore club.
"Yeah that was first time I was sent off not just in the Airtricity League, but in my whole life so I'll be hoping to stay on the pitch for the full game this time.
"I think I've settled in well at the club since the suspension from the sending off."
"It was a bit of an adjustment joining a new club and getting used to a group of new players and training but the more you train the better you get, and with a new squad of players this year, we're all improving."
Kelly, who credits the Seagulls for having played a huge part in the development of his game, admitted it will be an adjustment to play for the opposition at the County Wicklow venue, but one he won't be fazed about.
"It'll be a bit strange walking into the away dressing room on Friday as I played over 100 games over four seasons for the club.
"But I'm a Pats man now though, and we know it'll be hard to go to Bray as they've been getting some good results lately, but we're going there to win."