PETE MAHON admits it will be hard to lift his players for Friday's league battle with Derry City.
The season effectively ended for the Saints on Monday night when they lost at home to Shelbourne in the semi-final of the FAI Ford Cup, and while Pats could technically still finish second, a third-place finish is now the aim to round off a season that promised so much.
Questions remain in the background over the club's future, especially with the amount of backing from major investor Garret Kelleher up in the air, and only last week manager Mahon said it was "a matter of urgency" that the situation regarding players' contracts was sorted out.
"There's no point whatsoever in taking a step backwards, that would obliterate all the good work of the past two seasons," Mahon said.
"It has been a long hard season. A lot of time and effort has gone in, with limited enough resources
"I stand over what we have done over the last two years. Compared to where the club was three years ago, it's a far healthier situation with a bunch of committed players.
"Now we have to lift ourselves for Friday against Derry and that won't be easy. The players there are shattered, mentally and physically and it will take time to recover.
"I could make 11 changes for the Derry game. We'll have seven available who were missing on Monday and Gary Rogers is suspended, so that's eight changes already."