Kieran Sadlier 13' -
Bottom of the table Longford Town travel to the Showgrounds to take on Sligo Rovers on Friday evening as Alan Mathews side look to narrow the six point gap to Wexford Youths, who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot.
Sligo Rovers come into this game off the back of a 3-0 victory away to league leaders Dundalk, a result that had been preceded by three consecutive goalless draws.
The Bit O'Red were 2-0 to the good at half time at Oriel Park thanks to goals from Achille Campion and Phil Roberts. Midfielder Liam Martin was then sent-off less than ten minutes into the second half before top scorer Raff Cretaro hit double figures for the season to make it 3-0.
That result sees Sligo sitting in fifth place in the league with just three games remaining and manager Dave Robertson has called on his players to continue with the level of performance that seen them beat Dundalk.
“I want to see the standards we set in the Dundalk game maintained through to the end of this season. We haven’t changed much in our overall levels in the last few games so we need to keep doing what we did against Dundalk. What we did add on Saturday was that when chances came we took them,” the Sligo boss told sligorovers.com.
The last time these sides met, Sligo twice let a goal lead slip in a game that finished 2-2 at the City Calling Stadium. Speaking to the club website, Robertson admitted defensive mistakes cost them the win but says his players have delivered in the games since.
“When we reflected on the away game we felt that two defensive errors cost us the win that night. Sometimes you have to account for that with young players in your team, there is a learning curve for them. But they have comeback and shown good consistency since, I challenged them to do so and they delivered.”
In team news, Liam Martin is suspended following his red card against Dundalk while Michael Schlingermann remains unavailable with a foot injury, Meanwhile, Gavin Peers, John Russell and Achille Campion will have their fitness checked ahead of the game due to minor knocks.
Longford Town travel to Sligo off the back of a 3-2 defeat to Derry City, a game which Longford fans will see as an opportunity missed as Alan Mathews' men twice led before a quickfire Rory Patterson double won the game for Derry.
David O'Sullivan had given Longford an early lead when he struck in the 12th minute before Barry McNamee leveled the game five minutes before half time. O'Sullivan then restored the Longford lead from the penalty spot after 63 minutes.
However, it wasn't to be for Longford as Derry forward Rory Patterson made it thirteen for the season as he struck twice in three minutes to put Derry back in control with just over ten minutes remaining.
That result means Longford now go into what is a must win game against Sligo six points adrift of their nearest rivals, Wexford with just four games remaining.
Dundalk, Galway and Shamrock Rovers are the opponents for the remaining three games following Friday night's fixture, which has been brought forward 24 hours to accommodate the rearranged fixture between Longford and Dundalk.
Alan Mathews has no suspension worries meaning he looks set to have a full squad to choose from after Noel Haverty returned from injury in the defeat to Derry as a late substitute for James Mulhall.
Referee: Robert Harvey
The two fixtures between these sides this season have resulted in a 3-0 victory for Sligo, in the fixture at the Showgrounds in April and a 2-2 draw at the City Calling Stadium in July.
Longford Town have managed just two league victories this season, both coming away from home against the two clubs closest to them in the table, Wexford Youths and Finn Harps.
Sligo, who have 30 points more than Longford, have amassed a total of eleven league victories, six of which have come at home in the Showgrounds.
Sligo Rovers 4/9; Draw 16/5; Longford Town 13/2.
Sligo Rovers 3-1 Longford Town.
Injured: Micheal Schlingermann (foot).
Doubtful: Achille Campion, Gavin Peers, John Russell.
Suspended: Liam Martin.