Tommy Barrett says Limerick are “hoping to be positive and get a goal or two” as they look to end their drought in a huge SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash with Sligo Rovers at the Markets Field on Saturday evening (kick-off 6.30pm).
The Shannonsiders are without a goal in over 500 minutes of competitive action and come into this game on the back of a disappointing EA SPORTS Cup last-16 exit to First Division Cobh Ramblers last Monday night.
Hours after that defeat, though, Barrett was boosted by the addition of former Dundalk midfielder Conor Clifford, who comes straight into the matchday squad. Striker Mark O’Sullivan also has another week under his belt, having appeared for the first time in over five weeks last Friday.
That scoreless draw against Bohemians at Dalymount Park kept Limerick level with the Gypsies and moved the pair two points clear of Sligo. But Barrett insists Saturday is just another game, despite knowing that victory would open up a five-point gap on the Bit O’ Red in the playoff place.
“We are just looking at it as one game – it’s the next one,” Barrett told LimerickFC.ie. “We can’t be worried about Sligo or anyone else.
“The mood in the camp is good all week; we have trained well. We are getting some players back now and you can see that the tempo in training has increased with that. Conor Clifford coming in this week has also given everyone a boost.
“Our lack of goals is a concern, of course. But we are hoping to be positive and get a goal or two. We want to be positive, try to score, and hopefully pick up the three points.
“Sligo have a very good squad. They spent very well in the off-season. They had the budget to bring in really good players. They have lads who have played in England and Scotland, good experienced players, and it will be a very good test for us.
“We expect them to have improved since the first day of the season. We have watched them a few times and they play good football. They are a threat from wide areas, centrally and from set-pieces as well, so we will have to be switched on.”
Limerick are without a league win in seven, with two draws and four defeats since their 1-0 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Markets Field on 9 March. Sligo’s last win was also against the Seagulls – at the Carlisle Grounds on 12 March – as they come into this game on the back of three straight league defeats without scoring.
These teams met on the opening day of the campaign at The Showgrounds where Darren Dennehy’s second-half goal was the difference as Barrett recorded a 1-0 win in his first competitive match in charge. Last season, the points were shared evenly in the three encounters, with a victory apiece and a draw.
Team News: Limerick have been boosted by the news that midfielder Conor Clifford’s registration has been cleared in time for him to come into the matchday squad, having signed for the club on Tuesday.
The fitness of forward pair Daniel Kearns (quad) and Danny Morrissey (groin) is being monitored, but the game is certain to come too soon for midfielder Eoin Wearen (groin) who is nearing a return after a month’s absence.
Officials: Referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Connolly, his assistants are Wayne McDonnell and Trevor Conlon, with the fourth official Ray Matthews.
Preview Date: Friday 13 April 2018