- Sunday February 17th, 2013 @ 16:57
Preview: Saints V Glens
Glentoran are once more the opposition for St Pats as Liam Buckley's men side travel to the Oval in search of the result which will see them progress to the quarter-finals of the Setanta Sports Cup.
The tie remains in the balance following last Monday's action in Richmond Park, a game which saw the Saints hold the greater share of possession of the ball and create more chances than the Glens.
However due to a combination of some resolute defending and a few interventions by Glens' keeper Elliot Morris, the Irish League side left Inchicore with a 0-0 draw.
The Saints' last trip to the Oval was back in 2008 when they went down 1-0 as a Daryl Fordyce goal proved to be the difference on a day in which both sides finished the game with 10 men – current Ireland international Keith Fahey seeing red for the Saints late in the game.
Morris, Colin Nixon and Andrew Waterworth are three Glens' players who remain within their sides' ranks from that day.
However for Pats' manager, the performance last week was one which brought many positives, especially as it was his side's opening game of the season, though he did admit that he will look to make a few changes to his side for the 2nd leg.
“We're still in the tie and I was pleased with the effort the lads put in and I think we'll get better as the season goes along as we'd a few new lads in the team,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
“We'll have to juggle of few things around for Monday. We've 20 in our squad and with the greatest respect to them all, I think they expect to be in the starting eleven so we will use everyone from that end.”
The positive for the Saints is the knowledge that should they earn at least a score draw in 90 minutes, they will progress to the next phase of the competition courtesy of the away goals rule.
However any thinking to go out and play for a draw was quashed by Buckley who believes that any such plan would be foolish given the quality that Glentoran have, adding that his side have the ambition to advance further in the competition should they overcome the challenge of the Glens.
“They're a decent team, they'll be fit as they're two thirds through their season and very competitive. That being said though, we want to win the tie. We want to win the competition if we can. It's a very important trophy, being All-Ireland Champions would be very nice for St Pats.”
Buckley remains without the services of midfielder Jake Kelly with a thigh problem, while John Russell remains unavailable through suspension from a sending off in last year's Setanta Sports Cup clash against Cliftonville.
Kenny Browne is a doubt with an ankle injury, though the Saints are boosted by the return of Greg Bolger who is set to be in the matchday squad for the game having recovered from a thigh injury.