Rovers v Derry: Team News
Sligo Rovers return to the Showgrounds on Friday night for the televised SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash with Derry City, kick-off 8pm.
The game sees the Bit O'Red face the Candystripes for the fourth time this season, the third competitive tie between the two. Rovers defeated Derry by a goal to nil in a pre-season friendly before City were the winners of the EA Sports Cup clash at the Brandywell in mid-April, beating Rovers 2-0. Rovers then reversed that scoreline in our Premier Division clash at the same venue ten days later. Raff Cretaro and Jimmy Keohane netted for what was Sligo's first away win of the season.
Speaking ahead of the game Rovers boss Dave Robertson says his squad are really looking forward to the game. "We lost to them in the League Cup but quickly turned that around a week later. The one thing I do believe is that we are two evenly matched sides. It is going to be an excellent football match and the team who shows the necessary grit and determination is the team that will come away with the just rewards. Derry are a good football side and with the game being broadcast live on TV, it means the game will have that extra edge."
Rovers go into Friday's game following last weekend's 2-2 draw away to Longford Town, a game which Regan Donelon was absent for due to suspension as a result of an accumulation of yellow cards. Donelon will also sit out Friday's game due to injury. Robertson says he expects Keohane will continue to cover for Donelon at left back. Donelon is Rovers' only injury concern and there are no suspensions.
Robertson said: "We could have rushed Regan back but with Jimmy (Keohane) and Gavin Peers suspended for Wexford next week, we're going to need to manage that situation and we need Regan ready and one hundred percent for that trip."
Rovers were pegged back twice at City Calling Stadium last Saturday. Robertson says the result was a disappointing one, that the team are ready to move on from. "The mood in the dressing room has been positive this week. We have gotten over the obvious disappointment of scoring twice away from home against Longford and not coming away with the three points. We've put our defensive mistakes to bed and have worked on making sure that we've ironed out any issues."
Derry currently sit third and will arrive in Sligo on the back of wins over both Bohs and Longford. Robertson spoke of Derry's threats, particularly through the middle and also emphasised on how keen he is to keep going, Rovers' unbeaten home run which stretches back as far as mid-March.
"Derry have that level of consistency within their group of players having retained most of last year's squad. The players know each other and they've grown on that and they've put together some very good displays and are also able to grind results out in difficult circumstances. This is a strong Derry side we are up against and they have a strong spine. Ryan McBride, Aaron McEneff, Barry McNamee and Rory Patterson are all superb players at this level and we are certainly aware of their threats. But we can just focus on ourselves and make sure we keep our home run intact. We have a great belief in ourselves against anyone that comes to the Showgrounds."
Kick-off at the Showgrounds is 8pm.