For both managers there’s a round figure to be hit, with Ian Baraclough taking charge of his 50th game at Rovers, while City counterpart Tommy Dunne notches up a century of league games.
It’s also the 50th meeting between these two sides, but, perhaps most importantly, a win for the Bit O’Red would see them match the best ever Premier Division start to a campaign – set by City in 1998/’99.
That would have severe consequences for the other title hopefuls, with Sligo’s rampant pursuit of retaining their trophy giving them an already very healthy advantage at the summit.
A trip away to the champions is always a fearsome prospect but heading to a side who have been averaging almost 2.5 goals per game without the services of three key defenders makes today’s task all the more difficult for City.
With striker Anthony Elding, who was named SWAI Player of the Month for March earlier this week, tearing teams apart, one would suspect the away side’s makeshift defence will be facing a long afternoon. In addition, Sligo will be looking to record a fourth clean sheet on the bounce.
Yet City are unbeaten in the north-west since 2007 and were only one of two sides not to suffer defeat at the Showgrounds last season. Throughout the Dunne era, some of the team’s best performances have come when they have been underdogs.
Even if the loss of both Kevin and Dan Murray, along with the suspended Darren Dennehy robs them of their top three centre-halves, Dunne says they are ready to ‘give it a good go’.
“You don’t really get much tougher than a trip to Sligo,” he says. “It’s a major test, but it is a good place to go and the pitch is relatively good from what I have seen. Sligo are the top team at the moment. They are consistent, they are scoring goals and not conceding many. In a sense we have nothing to lose and we will go up and perform. We have prepared the right way, we are looking forward to it and we will give it a good go.”
On the other hand, Baraclough, who earlier this week claimed his side haven’t actually been performing to the best of their abilities despite the winning-streak, is expecting City to provide the sternest of tests: “The battles we had last year were produced by two good footballing games and I expect it could be the same this season.
“Tommy has improved Cork’s squad this year and the players have the experience of a year in the Premier Division under their belts. As this run continues, teams will be desperate to be the ones to take the first points off us. We’ve got to be ready for that.”
On the injury front, Ciaran Kelly is the only new absentee, while Joseph Ndo is back in training and is expected to rejoin the squad in the next fortnight.
Meanwhile, in the First Division, Cobh Ramblers look to achieve their second win of the campaign, and first since the opening weekend, when they welcome unbeaten Mervue United to St Colman’s Park, at 7.30pm.