O'Conor looks ahead to Saints visit
Paul O’Conor is excited about the prospect of another huge night in The Showgrounds on Saturday as Sligo Rovers host St Patrick’s Athletic in the SSE Airtricity League.
O’Conor has bagged two goals in recent games for Rovers with victories over UCD, Bohemians and Limerick seeing Rovers climb the Premier Division table.
The Saints will provide a massive test for Ian Baraclough’s men, but it’s one O’Conor said his team-mates are looking forward to.
He told Ocean FM‘s Rovers Review: "Everybody knows the talents St Pat's have. They won the league last year and they've strengthened in the off-season.
"When you bring in players like Keith Fahey, James Chambers and Mark Quigley, they have a brilliant squad and it's going to be an extremely tough game. But it's one we are certainly looking forward to. They are on a good run, we're on a good run, it has the makings of a good game.
"We're going to have a good week training and looking forward to getting out there with our intention of getting three points.
"The atmosphere against UCD was brilliant. I had experienced it on the other end, playing there with different teams. When The Showgrounds is full and there is an atmosphere like there was on that Friday night, I don't think anyone would like to be coming there.
"It was a amazing feeling, the crowd standing up and cheering towards the end. That's what you play for to be honest. It was a brilliant occasion and I have no doubt it will be that plus more when we play Pat's this weekend."
Listen back to Rovers Review from Ocean FM last Sunday by clicking play
O’Conor bagged the opening goal of last Friday’s 3-0 win over Limerick in Thomond Park, running on to Kieran Djilali’s delivery into the area before firing home, and said the victory was fully deserved for the Bit o’ Red.
"They came right at us", O'Conor said.
"We were a bit surprised by it and it's important when you have those sort of chances to take them. Going a goal up that early in the game set us on our way. I thought we played very well.
"We dealt with the conditions well because it wasn't an easy night. It was a tough pitch and they are a very good, phsycial side."
The spectacular strike against the Students, followed up with the opener against in Limerick, have pleased O’Conor and he now wants it continue his form in front of goal.
The midfielder revealed manager Ian Baraclough has been encouraging him to get into areas to find the net.
"I was delighted to get off the mark. You don't want to be waiting too long for your first goal. To score it in The Showgrounds was great. It was nice to get a goal here in Sligo and pick up another one the other night.
"I always want to try to get into the box as much as possible and that's what the manager wants me to do. Hopefully a good goal-scoring season is to come.
"When you come to a big club like Sligo, it takes a little bit of time to settle in and adjust. We hadn't made the greatest start which didn't help. Winning games, things change. It's all about confidence.
"Even in training now things change - people are a lot more confident in training and then in matches. It's about continuing it now. We're in a good place but it's important to keep it going."
A fourth meeting of the season with the Saints awaits on Saturday night as two of the form teams in the league meet.
The fixtures have been eventful, entertaining and exciting to watch, exampled recently by the 5-1 success in Richmond Park for Rovers.
Looking back on that win, the former Drogheda United man said: "It was a big thing for our season. We believed our performances were good, we just weren't coming out with the rersults. I don't think anyone would have called a 7-1 aggregate win and the win in Inchicore was great for the morale.
"We certainly go into it believing we can pick up three points on Saturday.
"The results have started to come but we can't rest on it now. We are still fifth in the table and are playing catch-up. we can't be looking too far ahead of ourselves. Our only focus is Pat’s at the moment."
Sligo Rovers vs St Patrick's Athletic is this Saturday in The Showgrounds, kick-off 7:45pm. Tickets are available at turnstiles.