- Thursday June 21st, 2012 @ 14:18
Saints Return To Action
The Saints return to league action this Friday following the three week mid-season break with a Dublin derby as they host Bohemians.
Lying in second place at present, seven points behind league leaders Sligo Rovers, Liam Buckley's side welcome the Gypsies to Inchicore, who lie in seventh place themselves and are managed by former Saints' player and assistant manager Aaron Callaghan.
Having entered the mid-season break on the back of a 4-0 away win against Monaghan United, Saints' manager Buckley is looking to the schedule ahead of his side in several competitions, including the EA Sports Cup, FAI Cup and Europa League.
“Everybody has been training for the last couple of weeks which is great,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
"The next four months will be really challenging for us with the games we have coming up and everyone else too. But at the moment, we're all now looking forward to the Bohs game and getting back into action.”
Pats are unbeaten in their last six meetings with the Gypsies and will be hoping to improve on the scoreless draw between the two sides back in March.
However as Buckley pointed out, Aaron Callaghan's side have made huge progress over the past few months, referring to Bohemians' 0-0 draw with Sligo Rovers as evidence of their improvement.
“In comparison to the draw earlier in the season, it'll be a much different game. Bohemians have really made huge progress since then and have claimed some really impress results. So as one would always expect when these two sides play in Richmond Park, it will be a tricky game for us.”
Buckley confirmed that Mark Rossiter remains to be the only absentee from his squad with a knee injury which is likely to see him miss the remainder of the season.
Otherwise the remainder of Buckley's squad to fit and available for selection, meaning that midfielder James Chambers could return following an eight week lay-off with a knee injury.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com, Chambers expressed his delight at being available selection for the first time since the Saints' 1-1 away draw to Sligo Rovers at the end of April. “Yeah it's great to be back after the lengthy lay-off.”
“I worked over the break with our physio Fearghal Kerin to improve my fitness and to strengthen my knee, so while everyone was off I got in a good week of work. I trained all last week and have trained all this week to date as well, so things are looking good.”
However with huge competition for places in the Saints' midfield, Chambers revealed that even though he had started in all of the Saints' opening nine league fixtures, he was expecting a tough challenge of breaking back into the side.
“Yeah fingers crossed I can get back in the team, but I would be of the belief that you don't change a winning team. Looking at the performance of someone like Jake Kelly coming off the bench against Monaghan the last day, it'll be hard to break back into the team as we've such a strong squad.
So I've got to really perform in order to get back in the team and give the manager a headache in terms of selection.”