HAVING reignited the title race on Tuesday night, the onus is on St Patrick's Athletic to keep the pressure on Sligo Rovers with victory at Hunky Dorys Park tonight.
It will be easier said than done, however, against a Drogheda United side they have failed to beat all season. The Saints did overcome tonight's opponents in the FAI Ford Cup quarter-final last week, but they needed extra-time and penalties in a replay to do it.
Liam Buckley attempted to move the focus on to the league leaders in the aftermath of his side's 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers earlier this week -- their sixth win in eight games -- but he knows that the talk will have to be backed up with three points.
That would really lay down a marker to the Bit O'Red, whose run-in looks tricky and would lead by just three points going into tomorrow night's northwest derby against Derry City if Pat's can win tonight.
"This will be another tough game, bearing in mind where Drogheda are at and their ambitions to play in Europe and finish second or first," Buckley admitted.
"Equally, from our point of view it's an important game."
After facing Derry, Sligo must travel to Cork before hosting St Pat's, visiting Drogheda and then finishing up with a tough home game against Shamrock Rovers.
"There is not an easy game there for them. I have no doubt they are going to have to scrap to pick up points," Buckley said.
"We are scrapping every week. We didn't play particularly well against Rovers but we've done enough to win, and the lads are going to fight tooth and nail right to the death and see where it ends."
The absence of the suspended Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien will blunt Mick Cooke's side's efforts as they look to reclaim second place.
Winning the EA Sports Cup last Saturday means that Drogheda are already in bonus territory, but they are not resting on their laurels and are aiming to finish the league strongly and qualify for Europe.
Ian Baraclough and everyone at Sligo will be hoping that Drogheda didn't celebrate their triumph too hard and will take valuable points off Pat's.
For Buckley, it is a case of trying to transfer the pressure to the northwest and ramping it up for the remaining games.
"We are going to give it a belt. The lads are enjoying the games. They are all tough games. There are no easy ones in the league," he said.
"We are looking forward to it. I can't wait. As soon as we finished the Rovers game I was saying, 'lads, we're preparing for Friday'."