St Pat’s aiming to settle a score when they host Derry City

Huge clash at Richmond Park as Saints bid to keep push for Europe going while Derry can’t afford to drop points as they pursue leaders Shamrock Rovers

A 4-0 humbling when Derry City last visited Richmond Park at the end of April, described as the lowest ebb of their season, St Patrick’s Athletic are out to settle a score as they look to maintain their push for European qualification in Inchicore tonight.

Tim Clancy’s in-form Saints sit two points behind third-placed Dundalk, with a game in hand, on the back of five straight league wins.

A flip side to aspirations of avenging their heaviest defeat of the campaign is the fact that Derry, still very much in the title hunt, five points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers (who travel to Sligo Rovers on Saturday) arrive in pretty impressive form themselves, unbeaten in 15 games domestically.

“It’s a huge game,” agreed Clancy. “Obviously, we want to put right the fixture we had earlier on this year at Richmond. We got beaten 4-0 and it was probably the lowest point for us this season.


“We’re in a good bit of form since the break in mid-season. We’ve won five on the bounce now and we know it’s going to be hard to keep that run going, but we’re definitely going into the game with confidence.

“We’re hoping we can enforce our way of playing onto the game. And if we play well and take our chances, I’ve no doubt we can win.”

With Anto Breslin suspended, Clancy makes an enforced change at left-back. Teenage midfielder Adam Murphy remains out with a hamstring injury.

“It has the makings of a cracking game with two good sides going at it,” said Derry manager Ruaidhrí Higgins in anticipation of the trip south.

“It’s a brilliant venue; a good pitch with the crowd on top of you and we’re really looking forward to it. We’re not going down there to sit in and try to hold on to something. We’ll do what we do every time we play, go at them and try to pick up three points.”

Higgins confirmed earlier in the week that midfielder Ciaron Harkin had suffered a second ACL injury having spent the last seven months out with the same issue.

“We’re devastated for him,” said Higgins. “This club means so much to him and it’s a horrible one for him to take, having looked to be getting close to a return.

“He’s a massive part of our dressing room and will continue to be even more so now as his rehabilitation continues. He’s a real battler and will get all the help he needs to bounce back from this.”

Tonight’s fixtures (7.45 unless stated) - Premier Division: Bohemians v UCD; Dundalk v Drogheda United; St Patrick’s Athletic v Derry City; Finn Harps v Shelbourne (8.0).

First Division: Athlone Town v Longford Town; Treaty United v Galway United; Waterford v Cobh Ramblers; Wexford v Bray Wanderers.