Preview: Lots to play for as Harps visit

Sligo Rovers begin their second and final round of matches in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division when taking on Finn Harps in The Showgrounds, kick-off 7:45pm, live on WATCHLOI.

Rovers met Harps in February of this year where Ollie Horgan’s side emerged with a 1-0 success.

There is just a five-point gap between the sides and they both come into it on the back of successive victories, Rovers against Dundalk and UCD, Harps versus Waterford and Bray Wanderers.

It sets up an exciting fixture, the fourth last home league match in The Showgrounds this year.

In team news, Danny Kane (ankle), Darren Collins (ankle), Sigitas Olberkis (hamstring) and Johnny Dunleavy (knee) are out.

Alex Cooper (ankle) is a doubt and will be tested pre-game. Kyle Callan-McFadden has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained in the UCD game.

Liam Buckley said: “The first game was a disappointing outcome. It led on to us being bottom of the table for months on end which didn’t sit well with any of us. We’ve moved up the table somewhat but we can still improve.

“With the way things are, you can quickly find yourself back down there, or you can move further up. We look at things on a game-by-game baiss and we know how difficult this will be because of that night last February.

“Harps have picked up more results recently which isn’t a surprise, so this is another hard game as they all are.

“It is good to have a bit of normality with training where we are playing one game a week. John Mahon and Garry Buckley trained all week again and have done for a couple of weeks now.

“They are ready to come in, they could have featured in UCD but we wanted to get them as sharp as we could and not take any chances.

“Will Seymore was also back in the squad last week. It gives us more ability to tweak things when needed. There’s competition which is what we want.

“I was pleased with the number of chances created in UCD. We scored three goals. You’re not going to take all the chances you create and the important thing is continuing to come up with the opportunities.

“We are a work in progress, there is room for improvement, I have no doubt about it. Collectively there is still a lot more to come and we are seeing it in patches. We’d like to find that on a consistent basis.”

Ronan Coughlan was voted Player of the Month for August by Bit O’ Red fans in a hotly-contested vote, pipping the equally-impressive Kyle Callan-McFadden.

Buckley said: “Ronan has done very well for us, he’s worked his socks off and scored goals.

“A number of players have done very well and it’s about the team overall, not one or two individuals.

“We’re looking for a team performance every game and we feel if we can get them then we can move further up the table. That’s what we’re all looking for.”