Preview: Rovers return to Showgrounds vs Waterford

Sligo Rovers return to action on Saturday night in The Showgrounds as Waterford FC visit in the SSE Airtricity League. Kick-off is 7.45pm,

The team will meet, on the pitch, for a third time this season and the first in Sligo as the earlier home meeting was not played due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Waterford squad. Rovers were awarded a 3-0 win in that fixture.

Rovers claimed 2-1 victory in the first away match but the Blues secured the points in the other match in a 1-0 success.

Match ticket are available at turnstiles for all supporters with no pre-booking needed.

Rovers were hit with a number of absentees last week as Garry Buckley, Greg Bolger, Robbie McCourt, David Cawley and Shane Blaney were ruled out for the game in Dundalk.

Buckley returns from a one-match ban while Bolger and McCourt have trained this week and look set to be available, but Blaney is still out with a foot problem.

Cawley and John Mahon will serve suspensions on Saturday so they miss out.

Manager Liam Buckley said: “We were disappointed with how things went last week. I do think the scoreline flattered Dundalk somewhat but it wasn’t enough from our point of view over the course of the 90 minutes.

“We were down a couple of players late in the week and that certainly didn’t help as we had to juggle a few things around. We lost the game and we move on from it.

“It will happen, you’re not going to win every game, particularly with the way the league has panned out this season. Ultimately what matters is how you respond, how consistently you can find results over the year, and I can see the players are looking forward to this week’s game.  

“Waterford are a good side, desperate for points like every other side in the league, and they’ve won six out of their last nine league games and qualified for the FAI Cup semi-finals. The matches they did lose were narrow defeats away to Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic, so it tells you how they’ve been doing in the last few months.

“We’re not setting targets because I think it’s entirely unpredictable how the rest of the league season will turn out. It’s the old expression of one game at a time but it really has to be that way because one result makes a difference. Our approach all season has been to battle for every result we get and that every three points is the same.

“We were the rising team last year, getting better as the season went on, and got into the top four on the final day of the season. I know there are teams out there looking to emulate what we did last season.

“This season we’ve given ourselves a better platform. We feel we have improved as a group, we’re right in the mix battling it out for that European finish. It would be fantastic to get it over the line but it’s going to be a fight to the wire to get there and there is any number of teams chasing it.

“As we look to Saturday, it’s a home game with the great support we get here and we did pick up a couple of wins last month. We would like to replicate that if we can.

“John and David will serve suspensions but we do have Robbie, Greg and Garry back with us. The game will come too soon for Shane and he’s working hard to be back soon.  

“As much as it will be a challenging six weeks from now to the end of the season, it’s also an exciting one as well and we’ll go into this game looking for the result and performance that we desire.”