St. Patrick’s Athletic make the short journey from Inchicore to take on Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night, which could prove to have massive ramifications on which side may miss out on the coveted European qualification spots.
Pat’s got the better of the Hoops last Monday in the EA Sports Cup semi-finals, going through on penalties and Rovers will be hoping to earn revenge by gaining all three points in Dublin 24.
Rovers have no new fresh injuries or suspension worries, however midfield quartet Keith Fahey, Sean O’Connor, Stephen McPhail and Damien Duff all remain out for the home side. The latter two are nearing full fitness, however.
Speaking to Shamrockrovers.ie, boss Pat Fenlon hopes to have them back sooner rather than later.
“They are making good progress and we will see how they are next week.”
‘Nutsy’ also believes that his team needs to start beating the teams around them to challenge for the top honours this season as they have only won once in seven attemps against the top three teams, and aims to start by beating Pat’s for the second time this season.
“We have to start beating the teams above us, it’s as simple as that. The four games with Pat’s this season have all been close, there’s not a lot between the two sides.
“We expect a tough game on Friday, we will be hoping to make home advantage count. The support from the stands has been brilliant this season and we want to give the fans something else to shout about tomorrow night.”
On the opening day of the season in Tallaght, Danny North scored his only league goal against Pat’s while the corresponding fixture in Richmond Park in May was a scoreless draw. Attacker Brandon Miele has now scored six goals in his last six league games for the home side.
The visitors come into this derby still without striker Christy Fagan, while new signing Shane McEleney is suspended. Defender Sean Hoare is back in contention and faces a late fitness test following a hamstring injury.
St. Pat’s manager Liam Buckley told Stpatsfc.com that he believes it will be yet another close encounter between two evenly matched sides.
“We know it’ll again be difficult. Both teams should be fine in relation to fitness as the legs will have recovered in time for the game. It’s a big game in relation to where the teams are in the league table so it should make for a good game of football.”
Pundit Arena Prediction: Shamrock Rovers 1-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Venue: Tallaght Stadium, August 7, 20:00
Rovers: Sean O’Connor, Keith Fahey, Stephen McPhail, Damien Duff
Pat’s: Christy Fagan, Shane McEleney, Sean Hoare
Referee: Robert Rogers
Dan O’Carroll, Pundit Arena
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