- Thursday April 25th, 2013 @ 11:10
Derry City Match Preview
Richmond Park is set for another top of the table clash this Friday as third placed Saint Patrick's Athletic host second placed Derry City as both sides look to move closer to top spot.
Having only defeated league champions Sligo Rovers last week, the Saints now face reigning FAI Cup champions Derry City.
The Candystripes, unbeaten in their last eight league games, will also be looking to extend their six game winning run, while the Inchicore side will hope to make it five wins on the trot.
Friday's clash is the first meeting of the sides since the Foylesiders dramatic FAI Cup final victory over the Saints in the Aviva Stadium last November.
On that day, Declan Devine's side edged a thrilling game on a 3-2 scoreline after extra time, Rory Patterson proving to be Derry's hero after scoring the crucial winner after 105 minutes.
However following last week's 2-0 win against league leaders Sligo Rovers, Saints' manager Liam Buckley believes the performance displayed by his players should stand them in good stead ahead of what he expects will be an enjoyable game in Dublin on Friday evening against a strong Derry side.
“Friday is going to be a great game of football, a real top of the table clash,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
“Derry are a top group who like to get the ball down and pass it, while we're a top group too, so it really should make for an entertaining game.”
“Barring the injuries to several of their squad last year, they would have finished much higher up the league as well.
It'll no doubt be a tough game as they're on a good run of form at the moment, but even so, it's one that we're all really looking forward to and hopefully we can go out and win it.”
In team news, Buckley is in the position of having a full squad to choose from as he reports that Brendan Clarke has trained all week having recovered from a knee injury and is available for selection.
For Saints' full-back Ger O'Brien, Friday's clash in Inchicore represents a game against one of the league's favourites for the 2013 league title and he believes that a positive recent against Derry would leave the Saints in a strong position.
“Derry is going to be another difficult game, especially as the games are coming thick and fast now as it's a big weekend for us with our back game against Bohemians on Monday too,” O'Brien admitted to stpatsfc.com.
“They've some really good players and they're probably playing the best football at the moment in the league and they have certainly added to what was a good squad last year.”
“Everyone will be mentioning the cup final last year as well so there will be a little bit of added spice to what should be a good game of football.
We'll certainly be going to win the game and I'm sure they'll be doing the same.”
Friday will also see the Saints sporting their new main club sponsor Clune Construction L.P. on their home kit.
Tickets for the top of the table clash are on sale from the Saints' Club Office.