St Patrick's Athletic host SSE Airtricity League champions Dundalk travel on Friday night in Richmond Park as they look to return to winning ways (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Saints will be looking for an improvement against the Lilywhites having suffered a 3-1 defeat to Finn Harps last Monday, while for their part, Dundalk will be looking to bounce back from a scoreless draw against Derry City on Tuesday.
The Saints will be without the services of defender Darren Dennehy who continues to recover from injury, otherwise manager Liam Buckley has a full squad to select from.
Ahead of facing the league champions, Buckley admitted to stpatsfc.com that the game will be tough, but is one he and his players are not fazed by.
"The lads are really motivated to get a result on Friday as we just didn't perform in the first 45 minutes against Finn Harps. When you lose a game, the natural feeling is to want to put it right straight away so the game coming around quickly for us is good in some ways.
"Dundalk defeated us earlier in the season in Oriel Park, but we were competitive against them for large parts so we have to go into the game looking to repeat large parts of that and improve further. We've improved in our recent home fixtures so we know we need to continue on that for the rest of the season."
2017 has seen Saints' midfielder Darragh Markey make the breakthrough into the first team for the Inchicore side. The youngster who turned 20 on Wednesday has impressed in recent weeks, and he is looking forward to testing his ability against the likes of Dundalk's league winners from recent seasons.
"Dundalk are a very good side and one that everyone knows will be strong no matter which players they decide to select from. Having seen them play us a few times over the last year or two and obviously given their European run last year, you know the standard they will produce will be very high so we've got to match that on Friday night as anything other than our best won't be good enough."
Markey is one of the Saints' stars from the U19 SSE Airtricity League winning team of 2015. Alongside Rory Feely who has featured regularly in the Saints' first team, Markey could come up against another member of that team in Jamie McGrath who now plays for Dundalk. Markey admits that while it will be strange to play against his former club and Maynooth University teammate.
"It'll be interesting coming up against Jamie on Friday as I've not played against him other than in training a few times so it'll be a good challenge. A lot of youngsters have come through the club here so it just shows all the work that is going on at underage level is really paying off and that Pat's is one of the best clubs in the country."
Markey is a former underage player of Cherry Orchard, a club who have announced they are to have an official partnership with the Saints - click here for more.
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