LIAM Buckley has called on his St Patrick’s Athletic side to find that little bit of “madness”’ to take them back to the top table of Irish football.
Speaking to the Dublin Gazette at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday, the Dubliner was in optimistic mood.
A disappointing campaign last year saw Buckley’s young side battle relegation to the very last day, when a draw away to Derry City was enough to see them to safety by the slimmest margin.
Experienced players like Killian Brennan and Owen Garvan, both recruited in the summer, were key to the great escape and they’ve been retained this year.
And ‘Bucko’ feels there is enough talent in his squad this year to challenge at the right end of the table and possibly for European football.
“I want my team to play as well as they can,” Buckley said. “I want them to play with desire, a bit of madness, a bit of passion – they have the ability. They need to just get on the pitch and play.
“We have enough players in the squad to do well and I’m excited about where we’ll go at this moment in time.”
Pat’s beat Shamrock Rovers to the signing of the defender Kevin Toner – who signs after making four Premier League appearances for Aston Villa.
Along with former Rovers wingers James Doona and Dean Clarke, there’s a healthier balance of youth and experience this time around.
Enough for Buckley to sound a note of cautious optimism ahead of the league opener as double winners Cork City come to Richmond Park for the first time since a dramatic 4-2 defeat in October.
“Bring on Cork on Friday night – they’ll be a good test for us. They are league and cup champions” he said.
The tie gets underway in Inchicore at 7.45pm.