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Pats hope for some good away days to match home record

CONOR McCormack believes that St Patrick's Athletic can make a real go of retaining their league title - if they can get their away record up to scratch.

The Saints are pretty much invincible when it comes to home matches, as a win at home to UCD tonight would make it nine wins from the last nine home league games. But the return of points outside of Inchicore is not so impressive, just one win in the last eight away games for Pats, and for Liam Buckley's side to reduce the 10-point lead held by leaders Dundalk, their away form will have to pick up.

"It's strange that we have been so good at Richmond Park but haven't been able to get the same results away from home," says defender McCormack.

"Our actual form in the away games has not been that bad, we have played well in a lot of the away matches but not had the luck we needed or deserved. We lost in Cork and drew away to Bohs, two games we could have possibly won.

"So we need that to change. Our next few games are at home, we have UCD here at Richmond Park tonight and Limerick come to our place on Monday, then we have Shels at home in the FAI Cup, but after that we have to go to Derry and we'd have to aim to get something in the Brandywell.

"I feel that we're not out of the title race yet, even though we are 10 points behind Dundalk. We still have to play Dundalk, a home game for us, and you wonder if Dundalk will drop points between now and the end of the season.

"Our home form is excellent, we love playing at Richmond Park and it's great to have the fans behind us there but if we can pick up more points on the road, we will be in contention," added the 24-year-old.

Cork City could move within a point of Dundalk tonight, however briefly, as Dundalk's game at home to Limerick kicks off later than Cork's trip to Derry, but Dublin duo St Pats and Shamrock Rovers are also in contention, the two sides level on points.

"We're not looking over our shoulders at Rovers or anyone else, we're just focusing on ourselves," says McCormack, a league winner with Rovers in 2011.

Fans of a title-chasing club would often claim a home game with UCD as a guaranteed three points but Pats supporters can't afford to be so arrogant: since College came back into the top flight the Students have taken points off Pats every season, bar last term, and UCD have already frustrated Pats with a 1-1 draw this season.

"I know from playing against UCD all these years that they always give you a game and I don't like it when people say 'UCD at home, that's a handy game'," says McCormack.

The former Manchester trainee is enjoying his run in the Saints side now, eight successive league starts for McCormack as right back Ger O'Brien has been out with an injury, a welcome stay in the Pats side. "It's been frustrating at times, especially when I got an injury around the time of the European games and missed out in the Champions League," he says, keen to stay on at Richmond Park beyond this season.

"My contract is up at the end of this year and I'd hope to have talks with the club about staying on as I don't want to leave. I would like to get it sorted sooner rather than later, or at least just find out I am in the manager's plans. It's hard on footballers across the league now, that the have to wait until the end of the season to find out if they will get a new contract and be kept on.

"You need to have stability in your career and your life and it's not good if everyone is left hanging. I hope to speak to Liam here at Pats in the near future and get something sorted."