Team News: v Shamrock Rovers

Sligo Rovers return to league action this Friday night after the mid-season break. 

Champions Shamrock Rovers are the opposition as the Bit O’Red take to the pitch at the Showgrounds for the first time in almost one month, kick-off 7.45pm. 

This will be the third time the teams have faced one another this season. The sides played out a scoreless draw in Sligo in March, while the Hoops emerged the winners by three goals to nil at Tallaght Stadium the following month. 

Manager John Russell is boosted by the return of both Nando Pijnaker and Simon Power. Pijnaker finds himself back in contention following a rib injury picked up in Inchicore in May. While Power returns to the match day squad following a groin issue which has seen him missing for the last few weeks. 

John Mahon returned to training this week following an achilles injury but remains unavailable for selection. 

Winger Fabrice Hartmann is available for selection but will return to his parent club RB Leipzig after the game. The German’s loan deal is due to expire at the end of this month. Hartmann will depart the Showgrounds having scored eight times in 43 games to date.

Previewing a busy week for Rovers in which Derry are the visitors next Thursday, Russell is hoping for two big performances from his players:

“They have come back refreshed from the break and there is a real hunger and desire amongst everyone to really push on now and make the most of the second half of the season”, he said.  

“We have two big, big home games coming up in the next week against Shamrock Rovers and Derry City and both are at home. We need to make the most of that and we need our supporters in full voice for both games. It’s very important that we play to our strengths on Friday against Shamrock Rovers and really impose ourselves. Shamrock Rovers at home is always a game our players and supporters look forward to and these are the nights everyone wants to be involved in. It will be a tough test but we will make sure we are more than ready for the game. 

“It’s great to have both Nando and Simon back in contention as they are two big players for us. Both had been enjoying really good seasons before their injuries and it was a shame to lose them for so long. I know our supporters are looking forward to seeing them back on the pitch.  

“We’d like to wish Fabrice the best of luck in his future endeavours and thank him for all he’s done for Sligo Rovers. He has treated us to some really magic moments and I hope he gives us something to cheer about on his last game for the club.”