Buckley expects relegation fight to go down to the wire
Dublin derby wins over Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers earlier this season were two of the all-too-few highlights in a forgettable campaign for St Patrick's Athletic.
But even a win for the Saints at home to their southside rivals Rovers tonight will not be enough to ease relegation fears, as manager Liam Buckley admits that the fight to stay in the division will go until the last day of the campaign.
Friday's results, particularly a 3-2 loss for a 10-man Pat's side away to Bohemians, and a win for a vibrant-looking Galway United, leave the Inchicore club in the bottom three.
One of only two League of Ireland teams (along with Bohs) who have never been relegated, Pat's must lift themselves after a bruising trip to Dalymount Park on Friday, where they lost defender Gavin Peers to a red card, for another derby game even though they are running out of matches.
"We need to win every game, we are in the bottom three, and three teams go down so we have to look at this Rovers game and try to win it," says Saints boss Buckley, the longest-serving manager in the league.
"I can guarantee you, even if we win the next two or three games I would still be concerned as you just don't know what's going to happen with the other teams. It will go to the last day of the season, six teams are in the same boat.
"The fixture list is there for all the other teams, they are all looking at where they can pick up points. We have five matches left, we have to start picking up points quickly.
"We will try and prepare like we do for any other game, and have a go at Rovers tonight. We will try to recover from Friday night, it's important we don't let the nerves and the pressure get to us, we need to make sure we perform as well as we can."
Rovers come into this derby on the back of impressive league form, four straight wins and averaging 2.75 goals per game, but the Saints have been a bogey side for the Hoops this season, Rovers yet to beat Pat's this term, something that manager Stephen Bradley is keen to change.
"We need to get to our levels and our standards again. I felt we haven't hit our levels against Pat's this year," says Bradley. "Pat's are probably the only team that we haven't performed against this year so we'll be looking to put that right tonight."