Team news: Rovers host Pat’s on Saturday

Sligo Rovers host St Patrick’s Athletic in The Showgrounds on Saturday in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.

The Bit O’Red go into the game in their best form of the season with three away league wins in August and last week’s home victory in the IRN-BRU Cup against Livingston Colts.

In team news, Rhys McCabe is suspended as he serves a one-game ban. Gary Boylan is out long-term.

Gerard Lyttle said: “There has been a good buzz around the place on and off-the-pitch. We’re in a good bit of form. We’ve responded well from Longford, getting the head down and working hard. If you look at the games before that, we put points on the board and we’re in a position now where we can try to catch some of the teams above us.

“Until July there was a lot of chopping and changing with the team. In the last few months we think we’ve found a better continuity and as a group the lads have that bit more mettle. It was no more evident that coming from behind in the Cork game. I don’t think too many teams do that in a place like Turner’s Cross but we want more results like that. The lads have such a strong bond and I think they enjoy being here.

“We’ve competed well with every team in this division. We haven’t been on the end of heavy defeats and some of the results we have achieved show real improvement. We went to Pat’s last time and got a good win but the games are always tight against them.

“The most important thing last week was just getting a home win. When we went 1-0 down, the supporters encouraged the team and it was really appreciated. The fear could have come in and the lads didn’t panic. The fans played their part and a win like that was overdue for them. We’d like that again on Saturday night.

“We’ve looked at Pat’s and their switch to 3-5-2, the big feature of their win over Waterford was three goals from set-pieces. They can also adapt that formation pretty easily. Ian Bermingham is a loss in his importance in their system but they have lots of good players to call upon.

“Rhys obviously features in the centre of midfield a lot but he has often been on the left or right-side and we have Lewis Morrison, Jack Keaney, Caolan McAleer, Adam Wixted, all who can play come into play with a small reshuffle. It’s disappointing to be without Rhys but we have players who can fill in. We certainly have players itching for the opportunity.

“Our work-rate has been a key part of victories. That’s what we seek from the players. It’s going to be a hard game but we’re looking for a victory because it can bring us close to Pat’s in the table and that should motivate us all.”

Kick-off is 7:45pm, tickets available at turnstiles