Preview: Bit O’ Red ready for action

Sligo Rovers will finally get the new season underway on Friday when facing St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.

Rovers missed out on the opening weekend of the season when the match against Bohemians was postponed due to an unplayable pitch following a long period of inclement weather in the region.

Now, with seven new signings in contention, Rovers will begin the campaign with the first of two away matches over a three day period.

There is a clean bill of health with every player available this Friday night.
Paddy Kirk (Longford Town), Aidan Keena (Falkirk), Karl O’Sullivan (Finn Harps), Will Fitzgerald (Derry City), Nando Pijnaker (on loan from Rio Ave), Jordan Hamilton (Indy Eleven) and Max Mata (Real Monarchs) are the new Rovers signings this campaign.

Rovers won on their last visit to Richmond Park on the night third place was sealed last season, enjoying a 3-0 win.

Bit O’ Red boss Liam Buckley said: “It was unfortunate last week. We all wanted to play but there was nothing that could be done.

“The first game brings a nervous energy which is useful and we retain that for Friday night.

“St Pat’s have played two matches when you include the President’s Cup. That stands to any team because the competitive games bring you on.

“We look at it that we have had one more week to be patient and work hard and get ready for what will be a very difficult game. We’d love to get a result like we did at the end of last season and we’ll be doing our utmost to get one.

“I like the balance we have in our squad. It allows us some flexibility and we’ll take each game on an individual basis over the season. We’re pleased with the players we’ve brought in. They’ve got a desire to excel at the football club for themselves and the group. We’re looking forward to seeing them starting on Friday.”

New strikers Jordan Hamilton and Max Mata have trained with the Bit O’ Red in the last 10 days.

“We’ve really enjoyed having them with us. They’ve settled in and they’re two great lads. The extra week has given them the time to train more and like everyone else it’ll be game time which will help. All of the new players are going to add to us and the quality we have here.”