- Saturday July 14th, 2012 @ 18:38
Saints Look To Close Gap On Leaders
Following their dramatic victory in the Europa League last Thursday, the Saints return to league action this Sunday as they welcome Mick Cooke's Drogheda United side to Inchicore.
The game represents a huge chance for Liam Buckley's side to close the gap to league leaders Sligo Rovers to just four points, while also opening a five point gap to the Boynesiders in third place.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com, Saints' manager Liam Buckley reflected briefly on the fantastic achievement of getting past IBV Vestmannaeyjar during the week, and praised his players for progressing to the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
"I was delighted to get through during the week from both the club's point of view and the league's perspective too, but we'd have preferred to have done it in a bit of an easier or calmer way.
"But that said, it was a great effort from the boys and they deserved to go through against a very good side."
However Buckley was quick to stress that the whole squad needed to concentrate on Sunday's game against Drogheda as the third placed side would represent a huge test for the Saints.
"We've got to move on quickly from the result during the week and focus on Drogheda as they played really well against us in what was a tight game earlier in the season.
"They're playing well lately as they're only two points behind us, so it's an important game for both sides."
Buckley will be unable to call upon the services of John Russell as the Galway born midfielder serves a one match ban, while the manager also confirmed to stpatsfc.com that a decision on the fitness of both Christy Fagan and Dean Kelly would be made closer to kick-off.
Mark Rossiter remains out with a knee injury, though he has begun his rehabilitation having had his operation last week.
With the games continuing to come thick and fast, Buckley was keen to stress that the use of his squad was crucial at this stage of the season, pointing to the recent performance and goals of Pat Flynn and Stephen O'Flynn last week as evidence that all of the Saints' squad will be required.
"From now until the end of the season, you can be sure that the team will be changed on a regular basis and that is why you have a squad.
"We're going to suffer from fatigue, injuries and suspensions with all the league games as the year goes on, and hopefully we've a good bit to go yet in the Europa League and FAI Cup, so everyone being sharp at this stage of the year is vital to us."