Match preview: Dundalk on Friday night

Sligo Rovers play their penultimate home league game of the season on Friday night as Dundalk visit The Showgrounds, kick-off 7.45pm.

After three weeks without a competitive game, Rovers return to action against the Lilywhites in what is likely to be a tight affair given results so far between the sides.

Each side has an away victory while Dundalk took the spoils in the most recent clash in which Rovers were unfortunate to slip to a 1-0 loss.

In team news Mark Byrne and Gary Boylan are the only absentees. Earlier this month Byrne had keyhole surgery to ensure a full return to fitness in 2024 following his cruciate ligament injury.

Stefan Radosavljevic (Faroe Islands), Nando Pijnaker (New Zealand) and Conor Walsh (Republic of Ireland Under-19s) return from international duty respectively.

Manager John Russell said: “It was not ideal having such a large amount of time without a game. We’ve done our best to spend the time as efficiently as we could. 

“We had two friendly games and plenty of sessions and we’re eager to play the game on Friday night.

“It’s great for me to have the options available in the squad. We had a couple of good performances in recent games and then a good half against Bohs. The second we weren’t at it and we deserved to lose the game because of it. We’re looking to be much more consistent over the 90 minutes on Friday as we were in those previous games. 

“We’ll reflect on everything and pick the starting team but we know in recent home games we’ve been able to call on our bench to good success so we have that available as well.

“We’re delighted be back at home, the Derry game had a brilliant atmosphere and we’re hoping for more of the same. Dundalk are a good side as we’ve seen and I think it’ll be another close game. 

“We want as many points as we can and there’s still four matches to go in the season. We’ve still got plenty to play and a lot of work has gone into it with this group so every game is very important.”