SAINTS READY FOR DERRY TEST
The Saints are on the road for the second successive week as they travel to the Brandywell to face Derry City as they aim to continue their current unbeaten start to the 2012 league campaign.
Having drawn four of five away games in the league to date, the Saints will be hoping to claim the points against the Candystripes, though recent results between the sides suggest the Saints will not have it all their own way.
Derry are unbeaten in their last nine fixtures against Pats in all competitions, while it is almost four years since the Saints’ last victory on Foyleside, Mark Quigley scoring a hat-trick in a 3-0 win in June 2008.
For full-back Ger O’Brien, the game represents a chance for the Inchicore side to push on from the point earned in Sligo last week.
“Last week we played quite well, and to come away from Sligo disappointed with a draw, that can only be a good thing considering how well Sligo have played lately,” he told STPATSFC.COM.
“But it’s going to be another tough trip this Friday against Derry. I know they’re missing a few players, but they’ve still got a really good squad and it’s never an easy place to go to, especially as they are playing really well too.
"So we’ll have to make sure we play like we have in the past few weeks, because if we do that, I think we have a chance.”
Speaking on the sole season he spent in Derry, O’Brien revealed that despite the way his tenure ended with the club due to Derry’s off-field problems in 2009, he still had fond memories of his time in the Brandywell.
“I had a three year contract there but it finished up before the first year had ended because of the situation with the club.”
“They’re a really good group of people up there and the fans were excellent.
"There’s still a lot of players who were there in my time, and Declan Devine too who deserved his chance to be manager now.”
Saints’ manager Liam Buckley echoed O’Brien’s evaluation of Derry, commenting that Derry’s recent victories in the Setanta Cup highlighted the work of new manager Declan Devine and that the Candystripes would test the Saints this Friday.
“Derry are in fine form lately and the work that Declan Devine has done there to date has been tremendous,” Buckley said when speaking to STPATSFC.COM.
“To make the Setanta Cup Final in his first season in charge is a great achievement, especially given the tough games they had to get there against Linfield and Shamrock Rovers.
"There’s no easy games in this league, but Derry in the Brandywell is always a challenge and it will be a tough game.”
Buckley confirmed that James Chambers’ is likely to be on the sidelines for six to eight weeks having picked up a knee injury in last week’s 1-1 draw against Sligo Rovers in the Showgrounds, while Stephen O’Flynn still has a slight thigh strain.
Derry City will face another tough task this Friday evening as they take on unbeaten St Patrick’s Athletic in the Airtricty League Premier division. City are currently just one place behind the Inchicore outfit and will be looking to close the five point gap that lies between the two sides, in an effort to stay in touch with the top of the table. Friday’s game will see the end of a tough period for the Candystripes: Having played both Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers away from home in their last two league games, they will again have to plan around a lengthening injury list which now includes Mark Farren after last weekend’s game at Tallaght Stadium.
Looking ahead to the game, which will be live on RTÉ Two, Declan Devine said, “We have to pick ourselves up again this week and get to the level of passion and commitment we showed last Friday night. So far this season we haven’t utilised the home support and the advantage that gives us, but we must use it to our adavantage agasint St Pats. We know we haven’t done ourselves justice so far this season and we must step up to the task tomorrow evening. St Patrick’s Athletic have been playing some good football this year and that can be seen by the fact they are still unbeaten. We again will have a number of players on the injury list, but at the same time we will have to go into the game with the confidence we showed when down to 10 men last Friday night against Shamrock Rovers”
Derry will be without Stewart Greacen (knee), Rory Patterson (ankle), Owen Morrison (calf), Mark Farren (hamstring), Kevin Deery (knee). Shane McEleney will have a late fitness test to see if he will be available, while his brother Patrick will be missing through suspension.