Limerick FC: Blues hope to avoid surprise as they face Sligo Rovers

Superblues at home for much needed SSE Airtricity clash

David Byrne

Reporter:

David Byrne

Email:

sport@limerickleader.ie

Limerick FC: Blues hope to avoid surprise as they face Sligo Rovers

Limerick FC's Chiedozie Ogbene

LIMERICK FC will be targeting three precious league points as they host a struggling Sligo Rovers side at the Markets Field this Saturday, 6.30pm.

Sixth-placed Limerick will be looking over their shoulder following recent victories for Finn Harps and St. Patrick’s Athletic but Neil McDonald’s side can capitalise on defeats to European spot rivals Bray, Derry and Bohemians.

Since the transfer window opened on July 1, McDonald has strengthened his squad with the introduction of New Zealand international winger Henry Cameron and Northern Irish defender Joe Crowe on loan from Norwich City.

With Cameron set to make his first competitive appearance for the Shannonsiders on Saturday, Crowe made his Super Blues debut in a disappointing 3-1 loss against Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park two weeks ago.

Limerick's defeat to Galway was their eight loss in the league this season, as the inconsistent side look to get back to winning ways against lowly Sligo.

In the meantime, Limerick had a free weekend in the league, due to the postponement of their home clash with Shamrock Rovers, as the Hoops involvement in the Europa League continued.

The Super Blues have boosted their confidence with positive friendly results against League One side Charlton Athletic and Bridge United since their trip to Galway two weeks ago.

McDonald’s side will have to prepare for their vital home game with Gerard Lyttle’s side without the services of Chris Mulhall who has recently departed the club in search of first-team football.

With Limerick set to announce former Blackburn Rovers Head of Academy Eric Kinder as their new assistant manager, all three points on Saturday will keep Limerick's ambitious hopes of European football alive.

The 58-year-old and former Carlisle United youth boss worked with Limerick manager McDonald for one season at the North West English club before he returned to Blackburn in 2013.

Having overseen one of the best youth academies in English football, Kinder is set to bring a wealth of experience to Limerick, following years of success at the Category One status academy.

Kinder was a Rovers academy coach for seven years and following a spell in charge Carlisle's under-18s he returned to Blackburn as under-21s coach in the summer of 2013 and was appointed to the role of Head of Academy in March 2015.

Neil McDonald will have to prepare for Saturday's game without the injured Shaun Kelly while international clearance for Henry Cameron is expected to arrive in time for the New Zealand international to make his league debut.

Striker John O'Flynn is fully fit following impressive displays in recent friendlies while Barry Cotter is doubtful but close to full fitness following an injury sustained in the away defeat of Bohemians in May.

Limerick FC U19 more recently had a disappointing result as they went down 1-2 to a resilient UCD side at the University of Limerick.

An own-goal had brought Limerick level with all the goals coming in the second half.‬

Speaking in the build-up to the game U19 manager Tommy Barrett wasn't confident about his sides' chances against third-placed UCD.

"The amount of injuries with the small squad has affected us. It will be difficult for us as we're low on numbers. In saying that, I would expect us to be competitive for the rest of the year and we'll see how we go."

On the pitch for the senior team, Limerick will look to repeat their opening day impressive 5-1 drubbing of Saturday's visitors to the Markets Field.

A hat-trick on the night from Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi sealed all three points for the hosts but Limerick's home form has since been less than impressive. Victory against Sligo will record only their fourth home league win of the season so far.