Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough has close to a full squad to choose from for Sunday’s President’s Cup match with St Patrick’s Athletic.
Baraclough St Pat’s counterpart, Liam Buckley, reported a fully fit squad for the inaugural clash of the SSE Airtricity League and FAI Ford Cup winners at Richmond Park (kick off 4.00).
Danny North trained for Sligo on Friday ahead of Sunday’s game and is in contention to play against the Saints.
Kieran Djilali is recovering from a knee injury and remains doubtful and Gavin Peers is out with a long-term knee injury.
“Whoever wins on the day will have a good boost going into the league campaign" - Ian Baraclough
The game could prove a milestone for Joseph Ndo, who is set to make his 300th appearance since moving to the League of Ireland, and for Ross Gaynor, who could play the 300th game of his career.
Rovers have not lost away from home in the month of March since the 2-1 defeat to Shamrock Rovers in the first match in Tallaght Stadium in 2009.
With four friendlies and a Setanta Sports match under their belts prior to this Sunday’s game, manager Ian Baraclough has said the President’s Cup is the final pre-season chapter for his side.
“This game will be a good barometer as to where we are at for this stage,” Baraclough said. “The result isn't the be all and end all but we'd like to win it for the sake of getting an early trophy.
“We won't come up against anyone better than St Pat’s this year. We won't take the game lightly even though it is the final pre-season outing.
"We'd like to win. To go to Richmond Park and do it, in their backyard, would be great.
“Whoever wins on the day will have a good boost going into the league campaign.”
St Pat’s boss Liam Buckley said that the game was going to be tough, and that his side were excited about the start of the new season.
“Sligo had a great year last year in winning the FAI Cup and challenging for the league, so we know Sunday’s game is going to be tough,” Buckley told the St Pat’s website.
“The President’s Cup should be a great occasion for our fans, who were fantastic, as usual, all last season.”
Buckley said that he had a full squad from which to select, his players having come through last Monday’s 1-0 away win against Ballinamallard United in the Setanta Sports Cup unscathed.
St Pat’s midfielder Conan Byrne said it would be nice for the club to “put our names on the trophy”, but stressed that his side were under no illusion about the challenge presented by Sligo.
“It doesn't come tougher than Sligo,” Byrne said. “You’d usually say that if you finish above them, you have a great chance of winning the league.
“It’s a nice curtain-raiser for the League as well, to have this game on the week before the start of the season.
"We’re two passing teams and it has the makings of a cracker of a game, so I'm really looking forward to it.”