- Thursday July 23rd, 2015 @ 14:34
Team News: Sligo Vs St Pat's (Friday, 8pm)
St Patrick's Athletic travel west to the Showgrounds where Sligo Rovers are their opponents on Friday night in the SSE Airtricity League (kick-off 8pm, LIVE on Setanta Ireland).
The Saints will be looking to continue their recent form domestically which sees them having won their past six games, five of which have come in the SSE Airtricity League.
For their part, the Bit O'Red will be looking to continue their good home form which sees them having lost only once in their last seven games in all competitions.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com ahead of the game, Saints' manager Liam Buckley spoke of his delight that the Saints secured a hard fought three points against Drogheda last Friday, with the Inchicore side now looking to replicate their result on Friday in Sligo.
"We were delighted to get the points last week against a really tough Drogheda side. They didn't make things easy for us, and after a few chances hadn't gone in, some teams would've ended up with a point. But the lads kept plugging away, stayed positive and eventually got their reward for their efforts."
"We're now focused on facing Sligo who are starting to get some results together so we'll need to make sure we apply ourselves right and are ready for the game.
We've a few extra players available now from last week so we've got great competition for places so we'll hopefully be strong on Friday and try and come away with the points."
Buckley confirmed that Saints' defender Sean Hoare is back in contention having returned to full training following a hamstring picked up in the Saints' UEFA Europa League away game to Skonto FC three weeks ago - the Republic of Ireland U21 International though will face a late fitness test. Christy Fagan remains out with a knee injury for the Saints, while James Chambers returns having picked up a back injury late last week.
The Saints' hope to include new signing Ian Morris in Friday's matchday squad, the former Leeds United, Blackpool, Scunthorpe and Northampton Town midfielder awaits international clearance before being cleared to feature.
For Saints' striker Jamie McGrath, last week's game in Drogheda was one to remember as the 19 year old scored his first senior goal for the club. The Athboy man admitted to stpatsfc.com that he was relieved to get off the mark having gone close on a few occasions in recent games.
"I was really delighted to get the first goal and it was a great feeling to score as it gives you great confidence.
I'd come close a few times so to get a goal given to you on a plate from Morgan [Langley] was great," the Meath man said.
Having made his senior debut in the Saints' final home league game of the season to Athlone Town, McGrath again impressed in the under 19 set-up for the Saints' and played a key role in the side's triumph in the domestic league.
McGrath feels that experience has stood to him this season in his breakthrough to the first team squad.
"It's great to be involved in the senior squad now. It's a bit earlier than I thought to be honest, but it's great that Bucko has the trust in me.
Playing with the senior players is great experience and I'm really enjoying it, and have done since I got the few run outs early in the season."
On Friday's test against Sligo, McGrath admitted that the side are expecting another difficult game similar to that they recently faced against Drogheda.
"Friday will be a tough game against Sligo. They're a good side and always give us a test. They're looking to move up the table, and we're looking to keep our good form going so hopefully we can get the result and kick on for the rest of the season."