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Monday 21 April 2014

Bit O'Red back in action tomorrow

After completing a four day training camp in Jersey, Sligo Rovers continue their preparations for the new season with a hectic schedule of games over the next week.

The Bit O'Red are back in action tomorrow, Wednesday, with an away game against Athlone Town.

With new manager, Roddy Collins, putting together a strong squad at the Midlands cub, the 'Town' should provide Rovers with their toughest pre-season assignment to date.

Collins has a habit of producing good results against Rovers. He was in charge of Monaghan United when they scored a shock 3-1 win over Sligo in the FAI Cup last summer.

Rovers follow up their trip to Athlone with two home games next week-end.

They play Finn Harps on Saturday and Irish League side, Ballinamallard, next Monday. Both games kick off at 7.45pm.

The game against Harps will bring the North West rivals into direct opposition for the first time since the sides met in the FAI Cup in 2011.

Alan Keane netted the winner from a penalty on that occasion and Rovers went on to win the Cup for the second year in a row.

Monday's clash with Ballinamallard should also prove very interesting as a number of Sligo-born players are included in the Fermanagh club's squad.

Former Rovers captain, Conor O'Grady, is playing with Ballinamallard this season while Jason McCartney, Steve Feeney and Colm McLaughlin will also be included in the panel for Monday's fixture. Rovers have pencilled in a further pre-season game against Longford Town.

This is scheduled for Flancare Park on Saturday, February 23rd with a 7.30pm kick off.

The competitive season gets under way on Monday, March 4th, with the first leg of the Setanta Cup quarter-finals.

Rovers are one of four seeded teams in the competition, along with holders, Crusaders, Derry City and Lingfield.

The Bit O'Red begin the defence of their Airtricity League title away to Derry City on March 8th.

So, it's not long now until all the Bit O'Red set out to defend their title.

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