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Rogers: pats are big test

SLIGO ROVERS is where it all started for a young goalkeeper called Gary Rogers.

And in his 13th season of League of Ireland football, the Meath native hopes that the Bit O'Red can finally bring him a bit of luck and earn him the first league medal of his career.

Now one of the veteran keepers in the league, Rogers was just a fresh-faced teenager when he was handed his senior debut in October 2000, lining out for St Francis in a First Division game away to Sligo Rovers.

Since then he's lined out for seven clubs in both divisions over 13 seasons but his trophy cabinet looks a bit bare, only a Division One title and an FAI Cup success for his days at Drogheda United.

With his current club leading the Premier Division table Rogers, still only 30, hopes that record will change.

"I've been in the league for a long while now but never won a Premier Division medal, hopefully this is the season that will change," Rogers said ahead of his club's home game against his former club, St Pats, at the Showgrounds tonight.

"A lot of that time I was with clubs who were battling relegation or trying to get promoted, but when I joined St Pats from Galway a few years ago I hoped we'd be in a position to challenge for things.

"I had three great years at Pats and I have a lot of time for the people at the club but it was a big regret of mine that we never won anything in my time there," added Rogers, who still reflects on the Saints' controversial FAI Cup semi-final defeat to Shelbourne last season, where he was sent off.


"We were beaten Cup semi-finalists twice there and we weren't able to make a push for the league. You're in the game to win things, and I have been in the league a long time. I still remember that my league debut was with St Francis away to Sligo, so I suppose I always had a soft spot for Sligo Rovers."

Sligo have already lost out on one trophy for the 2012 season as earlier this week they were knocked out of the Setanta Sports Cup at the semi-final stage by Crusaders, but they are through to the next round of the EA Sports Cup and are riding high in the one that matters -- the league table -- as Ian Baraclough's men today lead the table, three points ahead of Shamrock Rovers and his former club Drogheda.

"We have had a good start to the season," he says. "It was tough enough in the early games, we were a bit lucky to get a point away to Shels on the first day of the season though we only had ten men and we were down to ten men the following week against UCD when we had to dig out a result, but since then we've looked good," added Rogers, as Sligo have dropped just two points from the last seven games.

"But tonight is a big test for us. Pats like to play football like us, and I know what a threat they are, they have players all over the park who can score goals. But we have that too, we're not just reliant on someone like Danny North for goals, and it should be a great game this evening."