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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Buckley: 'We must keep our focus for Bray'

Liam Buckley
Liam Buckley

Liam Buckley has told his St Patrick's Athletic players that they can't afford to drop their standards as they keep up their pursuit of the chasing pack in the title race.

The Saints are the in-form team of the league right now, as last week's 2-0 defeat of Shamrock Rovers was their eighth successive win in the league, a club record. While the talk around the camp backs off from a title challenge, stressing that European qualification and further success in the cups - Pats are in the League Cup final and face Cork City in the FAI Cup later this month - are the priorities, on current form Pats will be contenders for Premier Division honours.

But stretching that winning run to nine games against Bray Wanderers tonight is not a given - Bray have turned their season upside down with a run of five wins in six games, their return of five clean sheets in that time even more impressive.

Apart from Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, Bray are the only side who have beaten the Saints this season and that's a reason for Buckley to urge caution at home to Mick Cooke's side tonight.

"Bray were very good last week against Drogheda and are on a good run of form themselves so this will be a tough game. Mick Cooke is doing well since he's come in so we need to apply ourselves properly and look to put the same performance or better than last Friday against Rovers," said Buckley.

The Saints have second-placed Cork City in their sights and while all eyes will be on Cork's meeting with Shamrock Rovers in Dublin on Monday, City boss John Caulfield is not making any assumptions about tonight's game at home to bottom side Limerick, who have been revived by back to back wins, martin Russell's side now looking to close the gap on Sligo Rovers.

"Even before the two wins they have had, they drew with Rovers and drew with Dundalk, so they have shown that they are a difficult side to play against," says Caulfield.

"They have had two good wins, you can sense that they now feel they can avoid relegation, so it will be a difficult game for us."

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