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Pats v Rovers derby preview

St Patrick’s Athletic are looking to get their season going, starting with Friday’s Dublin derby against fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers, according to club captain Ger O’Brien.

The Saints have got off to a stuttering start in the defence of their Airtricity League crown, which culminated in a 4-1 drubbing to Louth counterparts, Dundalk last Friday in Inchicore.

The champions however, bounced back from their first defeat of the season with an encouraging 3-1 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Monday night, to take into the first big Dublin derby of the season against Trevor Croly’s Rovers who are joint top after six games.

“It’s going to be tough obviously. We had a great win over Bray the other night. We’re looking to build on that and get some momentum going and Rovers have started off very well, but it’s going to be a great atmosphere and a big crowd, hopefully and please God we’ll get the three points,” said O’Brien.

The match is the second in a four game sequence of big Friday night matches at Richmond Park, with Pat’s set to face Sligo and Bohemians in the coming weeks.

The one game at a time mentality is set to be taken by Liam Buckley’s side as they look to get their title charge up and running.

“They don’t come much better than a couple of Dublin derbies. We had it last year, playing them all three in a row. Obviously looking forward to Rovers and Bohs, but we’ve Sligo sandwiched in between so we’ll be taking each game as it comes and looking to build some momentum,” said O’Brien.

The Inchicore club will be sweating on the fitness of O’Brien, who picked up a groin strain on Monday and the full back is doing his utmost to make sure he’s available for Friday’s clash.

“It’s just a little groin strain. It’s a race against time. Hopefully I’ll be okay for Friday,” he said.

St Pat’s are also set to welcome back Greg Bolger and Killian Brennan, who missed the trip to Bray through suspension, while former Saints captain, Conor Kenna returns to Inchicore for the first time since he lifted the league title last season, with O’Brien unsure on what reception the central defender will get.

“Conor Kenna has left a champion. He’s a good fella and was great to be around the dressing room. With regards to whether he’ll get abuse, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s Rovers he’s gone to,” said O’Brien.

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