Sligo Rovers welcome north-west neighbours Derry City to the Showgrounds on Saturday night for their third SSE Airtricity League game of the season.
Rovers have yet to record a win in the league this season, drawing their opening game 1-1 with Cork City while Drogheda United defeated them 3-2 last Friday night in a game which Rovers dominated.
The Bit O’ Red come into this game with a near full-strength squad apart from long-term absentee Jeff Henderson and Goalkeeper Richard Brush, who has been ruled out for another three weeks, after he picked up a shoulder injury in the first game of the season at home to the Leesiders.
Speaking to sligorovers.ie ahead of the game, Rovers boss Owen Heary said,
“It will be a test for our squad playing three games in a week. But we have to just concentrate on tomorrow’s game and then start to think about the other games after. The games come thick and fast at this stage of the season, I don’t really know why but we will be just looking to get our first win against Derry.
“They are a decent enough team. I know Peter Hutton well and he will have his team well drilled. They are a strong team who will do well from set-pieces.
“They have some very good young players like Patrick McEleney, Barry McNamee, Philip Lowry and some good experienced players as well. But the important thing will be that we concentrate on what we do tomorrow night.”
Derry City on the other hand travel to Sligo with a number of doubts cast over a few players with Gerard Doherty, Barry McNamee, Shaun Kelly and Anthony Elding all rated as major doubts while winger Stephen Dooley is ruled out.
City however, welcome Cillian Morrison and Nathan Boyle back from injury while they have also – after three weeks – been given international clearance for midfielder Seanan Clucas and he will come straight into manager Peter Hutton’s plans.
Speaking to BBC Sport NI before the game, City manager Peter Hutton said,
“A win would provide a fantastic confidence boost for our young players – going to Sligo will hold no fear for them and we will go there with a positive mindset.
“They are a fantastic bunch to work with and their enthusiasm and desire could not be faulted,
They are playing with a freedom to express themselves and it’s a joy to come into training every day.
“The performances have been good but the harsh reality is that you need points on the board too. Sligo have players who like to play good football but they have a big physical presence too and they are dangerous at set-pieces.”
Pundit Arena Prediction
Sligo manager Owen Heary will be hoping to get off the mark and put a win on the board with his young Sligo side, but Derry won’t be travelling to the Showgrounds to sit back and we can see a 1-1 draw being the final score in this game.
Referee: David McKeon
Assistants: Alan Sherlock and Declan Toland
Fourth Official: Ray Matthews
Michael Kerrigan, Pundit Arena