LIAM BUCKLEY says he will have no worries about throwing his batch of new signings straight into the St Patrick's Athletic team tonight as the 2013 season kicks off with a cup clash against Glentoran.
With their game at Richmond Park kicking off slightly earlier than the other three ties in the competition, and also with the presence of the live TV cameras, Pat's have the honour of kicking off the new campaign, although the league season is still a month away.
While Shamrock Rovers, in action at home to Coleraine tonight, have been the busiest club in the off-season in terms of squad changes, Pat's have been active as well as there were seven new arrivals: Shane McFaul, Killian Brennan, Sean Gannon, Conan Byrne, Dave Ryan, Conor Murphy and Jordan Keegan.
Buckley's options for tonight's game are already restricted as John Russell is definitely out, Jake Kelly and Greg Bolger are major doubts while Chris Fagan is also a concern, so the new boys could all get a run out in a new-look Saints side.
"We have quite a lot of new faces at the club but I'd have no hesitation in putting them in if we need them. They are all good players and I think they will do very well for this club," Buckley said.
Since the 2010 season, when Pat's reached the final of the competition, the Setanta Sports Cup has not gone well for the Saints as they were knocked out at the first hurdle in the last two seasons, on both occasions by Cliftonville.
"We're taking the competition very seriously as it's a trophy we want to win," says Buckley. "I saw Glentoran play a while back and we had our scout, Dave Campbell, watch them in their game on Saturday. They're a decent side but I think we'll be ready for them."
Shamrock Rovers have a number of injury worries ahead of their home game with Coleraine as Richard Brush, Billy Dennehy and Lorcan Shannon are all injured while Barry Murphy and Danny Ledwith are doubts.