Match stats: Rovers v Dundalk
Sligo Rovers go into Saturday's game with Dundalk defending a home record of unbeaten in 11 games.
It is the longest undefeated home run since going 17 without a loss between September 2011 and May 2012.
There has been only five other runs of better than 12 unbeaten in Bit o’ Red history. They are 22 games between 1939 and 1940, 43 games between 1950 and 1953, 17 games between 1994 and 1997, 14 games between 1994 and 1995 and 13 games between 1997 and 1998.
The last domestic side to emerge victorious from The Showgrounds was Dundalk when they won 1-0 last May. Thirteen other games against LOI clubs have been played since then without Rovers losing. It was one of two home losses in all of 2013 along with another 1-0 defeat which came against Molde.
It’s the only home game lost in 17 for the Bit o’ Red in the SSE Airtricity League and one of only two in the last 38 home fixtures. The other was against Shamrock Rovers in the final game of 2012 which came two weeks after having already won the league title.
Just twice in those 11 have Rovers not emerged victorious. Both of those games finished scoreless, first of which was the beginning of the run against Shamrock Rovers with Cork City also getting a draw in September.
It makes it a four game run of wins for Rovers at home in all competitions.
The first clean sheet of the season was kept last time out at home when defeating Crusaders to take the run without conceding from open play in the Showgrounds to 11 games or more precisely 1,038 minutes.
That goes back to the last defeat at home against Molde in the July Champions League tie. Although two goals have been conceded in that time both were from the penalty spot.
The last three defeats for the five-time FAI Cup winners have been followed by wins but the last time it didn’t happen was when losing to Dundalk straight after being eliminated from the EA Sports Cup by Shamrock Rovers.
However when just looking at league results, Rovers have avoided losing again after the last six defeats. The last time the Bit o’Red did lose twice in-a-row in the LOI was after having won the league at the end of 2012.
The time previous to that was 13 defeats ago when losses were incurred at home to Bohs and away to UCD in April 2011.
The Bit o’ Red haven’t gone consecutive games without getting on the scoresheet since July 2013 when beating beaten 2-0 away to Molde then drawing 0-0 against Shamrock.
Without including European competition the most recent time was when Dundalk got the win in the Showgrounds last May with Rovers having played out a stalemate away to Limerick the game previous.
David Cawley is the only member of the squad to have started all five games so far though as he was substituted in three of the five starts no player has featured in every minute of the season. Danny Ledwith and Paul O’Conor are the only others to have played in every game with three starts and two sub appearances apiece.
Alan Keane made his 150th LOI appearance for Rovers in the defeat at Bray. He has a career total of 211 including his time at home-town club Galway United. He has scored a total of 12 league goals in his time at the Showgrounds but has none since scoring in a 1-1 home draw with Bray Wanderers in July 2012 a run of 41 games.
Only two of his 150 games have been as a substitute - the only two appearances from the bench being in September 2011 when coming on against Derry City and Shamrock Rovers in successive games. He has started in 34 out of the last 35 league games for the Bit o’ Red since missing the run-in at the end of the 2012 season.
The only exception is the final game of last season when he was an unused sub for the win at Shamrock Rovers. In only nine out of the 150 games has he not completed the 90 minutes.
Having recently moved to 200 career appearances Ross Gaynor can now make his 50th league appearance for Rovers if he plays against former club Dundalk.
He played 27 times in his first year with the club adding 21 more last year before making his first appearance of this season on Friday away to Bray Wanderers. His only goal to date came in his second season with a penalty in a home 3-0 win over Derry City last May. He has a total of 67 appearances with the Bit o’Redacross all competitions.
The game against Bray Wanderers seen Seamus Conneely reach his 50th Rovers appearance. It came as a sub in place of John Russell but was only the sixth time that he has been introduced from the bench in his Rovers career.
Kieran Djilali was also introduced as a sub to play for the first time in the league this year. It now means he is now on a career total of 99 league games. He had made 69 during his time in England and has since added 30 for Rovers. He has scored five times with the Bit o’Red in league football which is one more than he managed during his time with his five clubs in England.
Including all other competitions his career total is 120 games from which 42 have come since moving to Sligo. Fifty-seven of his 99 so far have been as a starter with 42 when coming from the bench.
For Aaron Greene the clash with the Lilywhites could be the 150th of his career in total. More of those have come with Rovers than his three other clubs (Galway United, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers) combined. 87 have been in the Bit o’ Red.
From his 149 games he has registered 23 goals (14 with Sligo Rovers). His two best seasons have been with the club lead by seven last season and six in his other year in the North West in 2011.
A landmark could also be reached by last year’s FAI Cup final hero Danny North who is just one game away from making 50 Bit o’ Red appearances. He made 23 appearances in each of his first two seasons with the club however last year’s injuries meant 12 were as a sub compared to just one in 2012. His goal tally stands at an impressive 26 to date with 18 of those being in the league.
He has four goals from his two starts against the Louth club with Rovers getting a double each time in 2012. The second of those in late June in Oriel Park which were decisive in a 2-1 win were his last that year before succumbing to an injury shortly after that finished his season.
Evan McMillan will be looking to score in the fourth Showgrounds game in succession, something that was last achieved when being done five times in-a-row by Anthony Elding last year in the season’s first five fixtures.
Last six results:
3/11/13 FAI Sligo Rovers 3-2 Drogheda United (Danny North x2, Anthony Elding)
24/2/14 SSC Crusaders 1-4 Sligo Rovers (Eric Odhiambo x3, Aaron Greene)
2/3/14 PC St. Pat’s 1-0 Sligo Rovers
8/3/14 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-1 Athlone Town (John Russell, Evan McMillan)
10/3/14 SSC Sligo Rovers 5-0 Crusaders (Evan McMillan, Danny North x2, Ross Gaynor, Liam Flatley)
14/3/14 LOI Bray Wanderers 1-0 Sligo Rovers
There have been no wins against Dundalk in the last two for Rovers losing both times which is the first time since not winning any of four at the end of the 2009 season and into the first meeting of 2010.
Dundalk’s win when they last came to the Showgrounds ended a run of five consequtive defeats and was their first in six visits going back to August 2009 when coming from 3-1 behind to win the game 4-3.
They had also failed to score in the five previous visits conceding 13 goals in that time.
It was their first Showgrounds clean sheet in nine since a 2005 First Division win by 2-0. They hadn’t kept one in the top flight in 18 years going back to a 1-0 win in April 1995.
Overall the Lilywhites hadn’t managed a clean sheet in 10 matches with Rovers but now have two on the bounce. The last time they kept three in succession against the Bit o’ Red was the 1980/81 season when they had 1-0 and 3-0 wins in the league followed by winning the FAI Cup final 2-0 to make it three in a row.
The last team to beat Rovers in three consecutive meetings was Dundalk’s Louth rivals Drogheda United. They did so in two games at the end of 2012 and in the first clash of 2013 across three different competitions, the EA Sports Cup, theAirtricity League and the Setanta Sports Cup.
The last time a side had three league wins in a row over Rovers was Shamrock Rovers on a four game streak with wins in July 2010, September 2010, March 2011 and May 2011.
The last seven matches between the sides have produced a result with only two draws out of the last 13. Both of the two draws were in Oriel Park with the last Showgrounds tie being 2-2 in April 2010. The Bit o’Red have five wins and theLiltwhites one since then.
Rovers have played Dundalk on 146 occasions which is more than against any other club. Dundalk hold a slender advantage with 54 wins to 53.
It will be the 75th Dundalk have visited the Showgrounds in league football, they have come away with a win on 19 occasions but lost 34 times.
Ian Baraclough and Stephen Kenny have faced each-other five times with both getting the win on two occasions while there has also been one draw.
Last six meetings:
31/3/12 LOI Sligo Rovers 3-0 Dundalk (Danny North x2, Gavin Peers)
29/6/12 LOI Dundalk 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Danny North x2)
10/9/12 Sligo Rovers 3-0 Dundalk (Mark Quigley, Gavin Peers, Liam Buchanan)
19/3/13 LOI Dundalk 1-3 Sligo Rovers (Raf Cretaro, Gavin Peers, Anthony Elding)
28/5/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 0-1 Dundalk
16/8/13 LOI Dundalk 2-0 Sligo Rovers
New signing: Kalen Spillane
Centre-back Kalen Spillane joined the club in the off-season from his local club Cork City where he has spent all four years of his professional career to date. The 22-year-old made his debut for the Turner’s cross outfit from the start in a 1-0 home win over Monaghan United in the First Division on 9 October 2010.
He finished that year with four appearances in total but would go on to establish himself as a regular in the first team the following year. Despite being sent off against Wexford Youths on the opening night of the season after serving his one match ban he played in every other league game for the rest of the season helping Cork City to win promotion as champions that year. All bar one of his appearances were as a starter.
His first career goal came on 30 September that season against Finn Harps in a 5-2 win in Cork. After being named on the bench for the first four games of life back in the top flight he soon regained his place in the team and played a total of 21 league games. His only goal of that campaign was in the EA Sports Cup helping the Rebels defeat Wexford Youth 5-1 at home.
Last season saw Spillane feature less regularly starting just 10 league games and being named on the bench 18 times. He did get the third goal of his career mid-season when scoring in a 2-1 defeat to Shelbourne at Tolka Park. He comes to Rovers with a total of 79 career appearances and three goals to his name.