Preview: Bit O’ Red host Hoops in Showgrounds

Sligo Rovers host Shamrock Rovers on Saturday evening in The Showgrounds as the Bit O’ Red look to extend an unbeaten start to the season.

Buy the live stream of the game here . Kick-off is the earlier time of 6pm.

Rovers and the Hoops will meet 44 years to the day of one of their most memorable games when the league title was decided in The Showgrounds.

The legendary Billy Sinclair led the Sligo team to the crown in 1977. It ended a 40-year wait for a league crown.

It isn’t the only noteworthy part of the fixture.

The sides met in what was our fourth game of the season last year and the final one before the league was shutdown. That game brought a 3-2 victory for the visitors and consigned the Bit O’Red to a fourth defeat in-a-row.

Over 13 months on, it has been a better start to this campaign at The Showgrounds ahead of this fourth game of a season.

Two away wins, as well as a point at home to Dundalk, has given Liam Buckley’s side a better position going into the encounter compared to 2020.

At the time, Rovers were beset by injury concerns. The news is somewhat better this time around.

In team news, Lewis Banks returns although Danny Kane is unavailable.

Last Monday Rovers played Finn Harps in a friendly game designed to give players who have not been regularly starting some game time, as well academy players eligible for first-team action.

Manager Liam Buckley said: “It was a tricky game last week in Longford and we came away with the win which we were very pleased with.

“Our points total is very good from the three games and I see us getting better in terms of performance. I know there is more in the group here.

“We had what was really a training exercise on Monday. It was for players who needed some minutes because of various circumstances. I was happy with what we showed in that game. There are good players trying to get into the team whether that is starting or coming off the bench. We know there are good options available to us at the moment.

“This game is really about another three points being on offer. It’s the same in every game in the league. The opportunity is there and we have to do our utmost to take it.

“We know it’s going to be a tough ask. Shamrock Rovers won the league at a canter last season and they’ve won both games so far. They’ve brought more good players into their club in the off-season.

“That said, we have as well. We have to compete well, work hard and give it our all to get something out of the game. I can see it being a tight game. We’ve got to produce the right performance to give ourselves the chance to get the result.”