- Friday March 24th, 2017 @ 15:32
TEAM NEWS: Saints Vs Shamrock Rovers (Saturday 5pm)
The big game in the SSE Airtricity League this weekend is in Richmond Park on Saturday evening as St Patrick's Athletic host Shamrock Rovers in the Saints' first Dublin Derby of 2017 (kick-off 5pm).
Meetings between the sides have been close fought in recent times with the Saints claiming two victories over the Hoops last year, the Hoops claiming a victory in Richmond Park, while the sides played out a scoreless draw in the their last meeting in the league.
For one time Shamrock Rovers player and manager and current St Pat's boss, Liam Buckley, a bumper crowd on an international football weekend is expected in Inchicore ahead of what will be another high intensity Dublin derby.
"With the game falling on an international weekend, there'll be a bumper crowd in Inchicore for the game. It's a Dublin derby and both sides will be keen to get one over the other ahead of the rest of the season; it's always like that whichever team we come up against from Dublin."
In team news, Pat's will give late fitness tests to goalkeeper Barry Murphy and Darren Dennehy as both recover from knocks. Otherwise, Buckley has a full squad to select from.
"Rovers have a good squad this season that is very different to the panel they had last year, with a number of young players in their ranks too," Buckley told stpatsfc.com. "Both teams are still settling and gelling together so we can expect another tough game that could go either way. We'll be looking to improve on the last few results that haven't gone our way, so if we can get everyone working hard and fully concentrated, we have every chance of a getting a result."
For midfielder Graham Kelly, the recent run of results for Pat's is one he and the players are keen to change and the Dubliner admits that the Saints need to keep working hard.
"We haven't had a good start to the season, but I do feel we've been a bit unlucky at times. However there's no point in going on about it. We have to knuckle down in training and keep working hard. We have to show character and keep working for each other, work as a team and if we do that, we can turn around the results."
Looking ahead to the prospects of facing the Hoops, Kelly is adamant that the Saints can get their season up and running with a win on Saturday evening if they can execute the basics better than they have in the past few weeks.
"Form goes out the window heading into any Dublin derby I've been involved in," Kelly told stpatsfc.com. "It's always 50-50 and they're often decided on a bit of magic from someone, ill-discipline or a mistake. We know ourselves that we have to improve on doing the basics right and if we can do that, we will give ourselves every chance of getting the three points and kick starting our season."