Preview: Bit O’Red face Bohs on opening night.

Sligo Rovers host Bohemian FC on Saturday night in The Showgrounds as the new SSE Airtricity Premier Division season gets underway for both clubs.

The match is subject to a 10am pitch inspection. Tickets will be on sale on match night at turnstiles as well as online at Kick-off is 7.45pm.

The teams last met on the final night of the 2021 season, playing out a 1-1 draw. Rovers enjoyed two wins over the Gypsies during that season, while Keith Long’s side also had a home success. 

The Bit O’ Red have not won the opening game of the season since 2014 with a 2-1 win over Athlone Town the last victory.

Rovers achieved their highest finish (third) since 2013 last season. 

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.

In team news, Liam Buckley will have a full squad to choose from with no absentees. 

Buckley said: “It is great to get to the point where the season is about to begin. Pre-season has involved a lot of hard work and commitment from the players. 

“It’s a period of trying to be as best prepared as you can for the first game and the next nine months that come with it. It’s only the competitive matches that truly bring you on and test you. Every pre-season brings its own challenges and while we had the occasional setback, I’m happy we’re able to go into the game with all of our players available. We’ll assess the group and picks the team we feel best equipped for Saturday.

“It’s fantastic for everyone at the club to be getting ready for a game with The Showgrounds at maximum capacity and the atmosphere and occasion that comes with it. I want the players to experience that and get a feel for the support that will be with them. 

“Bohs have a fine squad assembled and a very good management team. I’ve no doubt they’ll be setting their sights on at least a European finish and have equipped themselves with that in mind. We put the focus on ourselves.

“I’ve been delighted with the players we’ve retained here. They’ve done fantastically well and now we’ve brought in some new faces who we also feel are driven and ambitious and want to bring us forward again. That’s the challenge and one that excites us all. 

“We’re looking forward to the game and getting the season underway.”