Limerick manager Martin Russell says his players will want to test themselves against “the best sides” and will relish their upcoming challenges, starting with Saint Patrick’s Athletic at Jackman Park on Saturday evening (kick-off 6.30pm).
The Shannonsiders welcome the FAI Cup holders before entertaining reigning League Champions Dundalk next weekend as they continue their search for their first win of the season.
Limerick picked up their first points of the campaign over the past week, drawing at home to Longford Town (2-2) and away to Drogheda United (1-1). However, having led a total of three times between both, Russell knows it “could have been more”.
The 47-year-old believes the Premier Division is as competitive as it has been in recent times and says all results will be “very hard-earned”. And he wants his side to give it their “best shot” against his former club, where he coached last term having previously played there.
“You always say it could have been more or it could have been worse,” Russell told LimerickFC.ie, reflecting on the past two games.
“It’s a tight, tight league and results are very hard-earned. It is going to be the case throughout the season that you’re going to have to play well to get them.
“All we can do now is try to learn from those games, look forward to the next one and try to set new standards as we go on.
“This is why if anyone is still in the country playing football you want to be playing against the best sides and you want to see how well you can do against the best sides. It’s a great challenge coming up.
“We look forward to Pat’s at the weekend first and we know again we have to be very good to get anything from the game. But we intend to be that and I’ll be encouraging the lads to do that.
“We know it’s a great challenge that we’ve got in store but if we give it our best shot it’s one that we can do well in and I’m looking forward to it.”
While Limerick have taken two points from the opening 12 available, St. Pat’s have accumulated six – through home wins over Bray Wanderers (3-0) and Derry City (2-0) – having lost on the road to high-flying Shamrock Rovers (0-1) and Dundalk (0-3).
Limerick are unbeaten against the Saints in their last four meetings and have won the last two; 2-0 at Thomond Park last May – thanks to second-half goals from Danny Galbraith and Jason Hughes (pictured at the top) – and 1-0 at Richmond Park in August courtesy of Rory Gaffney’s strike just after the break.
Team News: Limerick welcome captain Shane Duggan back, following a two-match suspension for his controversial red card in Cork.
Right-back Seán Harding – who failed a fitness test prior to Tuesday’s game at United Park – is doubtful while left-back Colm Murphy (hamstring) remains out.
Officials: Referee for Saturday’s game is Seán Grant, his assistants are Michelle O’Neill and Ralph Pieper while the fourth official is Rob Hennessey.
Preview Date: Friday 27 March 2015