Preview: Buckley looks ahead to restart

Sligo Rovers return to league action on Friday evening when meeting Derry City in the SSE Airtricity League.

After 21 weeks, Rovers face Derry, looking to secure the first points of the season.

In team news, Ronan Murray and Lewis Banks are now fit and available.

Danny Kane (foot) could return to training next week. Johnny Dunleavy has featured off the bench in the friendly games and he is back in the squad.

New signing Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe has received his work permit and visa and available in that respect. However, due to quarantining, he will not be taking part on Friday.

John Mahon is not ready to return to action following his leg break in February. It is hoped he can make a full return in the coming weeks.

Liam Buckley said: “When the players returned to training they were in good condition and they’ve worked very hard over the last few weeks.

“It hasn’t been ideal in having the short period of training and missing lads who have gone through quarantine. There’s an imbalance in the league in that. But this is the situation and we have to make the best of what we have.

“We are representing the people who fund this club and will fund us from now to the end of the season. We owe it to everyone that we give it absolute everything and show what it means to be a part of Sligo Rovers.

“With the start we did make, we’ve had the last 21 weeks of sitting at the bottom of the table and it has been on my mind for that period. It’s not the place we want to be. We need to be calm, leave no stone unturned over the next months and get the results we need.

“I feel there is a really good group of footballers here and we need to go out and do it in terms of performances and results. It is very welcome to have Lewis and Ronan back now as well. They can be big players for us.

“Add in Ryan De Vries, Jesse Devers who has done well for us, Ronan Coughlan has been scoring goals and looking as sharp as I’ve seen him. We also have Regan back who can play further forward and Alex Cooper, we’re looking much stronger overall. Injuries were a big part of the start we made I feel. We need to cut out conceding the likes of goals we did. That has been part of our focus in the last few weeks.

“I’ve also been impressed by Mark Byrne and Darren Collins, they have caught my eye. I’ve no doubt they are going to go on to become good players for this club and they are very much part of the group now. They’re not just the future, they will have a role to play.

“Junior has been cleared and is well underway his period of quarantine. The sooner we can get him with us the better. Every club has to stick to the rules and ensure for health reasons that for the sake of everyone they abide by them, so we will do.”

Asked about behind closed doors matches:

“The main thing for us is performing. Everyone has to get used to the surroundings, and whatever the situation is.

“We abide by the rules, we take the game on as what it is. I want our players to feel it personally and the performance is all that counts regardless of pitch or crowds or whatever else.

“If we perform we will win matches. It won’t be a lack of effort from us when we weigh up how we will get on in all of these games. We’re going to give it our all. We’ve waited patiently to get the opportunity to win football matches. We’ve got the first chance to do that on Friday and we’re looking forward to taking on Derry.”