National League Preview


Potentially A good one to kick the new Harp Lager National League campaign off with as something funny used to happen to these two when they played each other last season. Their three meetings produced a total of 14 goals even if only one of the matches could seriously have been described as a contest.

Neither manager has made too many changes over the summer with Jim McLaughlin only signing two players, but that, particularly in the case of Sligo, a club where the annual English publication Who's Who in Football is generally still getting a good thumbing through at this stage of August, is likely to be seen as rather a good thing.

Nicky Reid brings the most settled Rovers panel of recent years to Oriel Park and the visitors hope to have virtually a full squad to choose from for their opener. Neil Ogden and Mattie Hare have both recovered from knocks that restricted their involvement in Sligo's League Cup games, although Reid himself remains short of match practice and will almost certainly sit this one out.

Nothing so relaxed for Jim McLaughlin who, if other years are anything to go by, will pace up and down while anxiously working his way through a carton or so of cigarettes.

The Dundalk boss will most probably have to cope without last season's top scorer, Brian Byrne, who picked up a knee injury in the League Cup against Longford. Everybody else, however, is fit and ready to go, including Peter Withnell and local youngster David Ward who may be paired in attack.

Last season: Sligo 3 Dundalk 3, Dundalk 5 Sligo 0, Sligo 3 Dundalk 0.

League Cup form. Dundalk: DDD; Sligo: LWD.

Betting. Home: 6/4, Draw: 11/5, Away: 6/4.

Referee: T Carroll (Dublin).