LIMERICK FC’s epic bid to retain their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division status reaches a critical stage this Friday night when the Blues travel to Ballybofey for their second leg relegation play-off with Finn Harps, 7.45pm.
Limerick manager Martin Russell believes the side can score goals in Donegal, but says he hopes the referee is ‘big enough for the occasion’ having been left disappointed with the physical nature of Finn Harps’ approach in the first leg.
Limerick FC take a 1-0 lead to Ballybofey from the first leg at the Markets Field on Monday night thanks to a stunning strike from Shaun Kelly.
The Limerick FC squad and backroom team travelled to Donegal on Thursday as part of their preparations for the crucial play-off tie.
Limerick FC have injury concerns over their attacking trio of Ian Turner, Dean Clarke and Vinny Faherty after the picked up knocks in the first leg..
Manager Martin Russell said: “Our attacking trio from the other night have all suffered bad knocks, so it’s touch and go with them, We’re hopeful that they’ll come through.
“I’m just disappointed. We’re trying to create a better product and when it comes down to this I think as well as big players you ask for big officials, to protect the attacking side of the game and to reward that if they can.
“I’m hopeful that the lads manage to come through but there were a few challenges the other night that were let go and yellow cards not given when they should have been. It hinders attacking play. I hope whoever the official is, he is big enough for the occasion.
“Physicality is part of the game, in the right way. But when you’re getting silly fouls and players obviously not playing the ball and stopping attacks, you have to look at that. Some of our players didn’t train this week. It has to be looked at.
“We’re very much looking forward to the game. It’s the final day now. We know we’ve got a tough game on our hands but we go there in good spirits, going there with a one-goal lead.
“We have belief in ourselves. We’ve gone to big grounds like Turner’s Cross, The Showgrounds, and the big game in Drogheda where we had to win, and won. We scored a number of goals in those grounds, so we do believe we’ve got goals in us if the attacking players are right.
Monday was Harps’ first defeat in ten games, going back to a trip to Wexford in August. They remain unbeaten at home in eight games, with six wins and two draws going back to a home defeat in June.
Limerick are unbeaten away in five games, their last loss on the road coming at Shamrock Rovers in late July. Since then, they have had four wins and a draw, scoring 15 goals, with their last away outing a 3-2 win at Sligo Rovers last Friday.