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Sunday 22 October 2017

no rest for pats: mahon

ST PATRICK'S Athletic boss Pete Mahon says his side have no intentions of taking things easy when title-chasing Bohemians come to Inchicore tomorrow.

Pats, league leaders for a chunk of the season earlier this year, have seen their championship challenge run out of steam in recent weeks and the Saints now have no chance of even a top-two finish, nine points off the top thanks to a miserable run of form in August and September.

With a massive Cup game, an FAI Cup semi-final against Shamrock Rovers, on the way next weekend, there may have been a temptation for Mahon to rest some of his players -- who have appeared tired in recent weeks after a punishing season -- for the league game and keep the focus on the Cup run, but Mahon has promised to put up a real fight against his old club Bohs tomorrow.

"There is absolutely no suggestion of us taking our foot off the pedal or resting players for this game tomorrow just because we can't win the league now," says Mahon.

"The Cup is important to us and it's something we are desperate to win. Everyone at Pats really wants to land the FAI Cup as it's so long since the club last did that, but our main aim is to qualify for Europe and we have no guarantee of that through the Cup. We can still finish get into Europe via the league and that's the aim now.

"We're level with Sligo, Sporting Fingal are right behind us with a game in hand so we can't afford to ease off in the league if we are serious about getting into Europe. Given where this club was 12 or 13 months ago, qualification for Europe would be an achievement so we are very serious about that.

"We have three games left and I reckon we will need to win at least two of them to make sure of Europe, so I won't be taking it easy against Bohs," added Mahon.

Boss Mahon is a former manager of Bohs and Saints players Damian Lynch, Stuart Byrne and Gareth O'Connor also had spells with the Dalymount club while only one Pats man (Ian Bermingham) has ties with the Hoops, but Mahon insist there will be no favouritism from his side.

"I'm not bothered who wins the league. I am only concerned about St Pats and finishing off the season well," he says.

"If someone put a gun to my head and made me pick I'd go for Bohs as I was manager there before, but for me Bohs are in the past, same with UCD where I managed after that. My only focus now is St Pats.

"Tomorrow will be a very tough game for both teams in Inchicore. Bohs are going for the league, beating us would give them a great advantage as they could go top ahead of Rovers, and I know Bohs will bring a great support to our place.

"But Bohs have not beaten us this year, we've had two draws and a win for us, and Bohs are probably still sore over our late equaliser in the game back in July.

"I think Bohs would hate to go through a whole season without beating St Pats so they'll be desperate to win this one, but we're very determined to win as well," added Mahon.

Meanwhile, the Saints are hoping for good news on the injury front as defender Shane Guthrie -- who has missed the last four games -- is in line to play in a reserve game on Monday and could come into contention for the Cup clash with the Hoops next weekend.

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS,

LIVE TOMORROW, RTE2 (KO 1.0pm)

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