UCD AFC host high flying St Patrick's Athletic on Sunday afternoon.
UCD AFC welcome St. Patrick’s Athletic to the bowl in what will be the students second Dublin derby in seven days, k.o 3pm.
While recent television coverage has called into question UCD's contribution to the league, Martin Russell has remained positive about the direction in with his team is heading. Talking to www.ucdsoccer.com ahead of the game he was keen to point out the positive strides his squad has taken this season: "In the recent games there has been a thin line(in terms of results), going back to the Dundalk game where we draw, we could of easily gotten a win out of that, we have lost to Derry where we could of got a draw and the same last week, where we lost by the one goal. I don't want to keep harping on about it, we have been close but not close enough and we have to keep on pushing."
"It’s not the fact that we are leaking goals, but we are not converting some of the good chances that we create. I think if you look at some of our heavy defeats last year, we have not seen that type of performance this year, there is signs of improvement there. Considering our (lack) experience our squad has we know it would be a tougher year this year and this has proven to be the case."
"We have shown positive signs, if you look at some of the results that we have achieved, it is far from doom and gloom, we are realistic about our development of this team, there have been some positive signs and it is nothing a win would not help."
Addressing recent media coverage Martin was wanted to highlight the fact that pressure comes from within stating: "Recent comments have been a little bit patronizing, hinting that there is no pressure, the pressure is from within, any young player that comes to our club is asked to reach their maximum potential in football. The aspirations and ambitions of our players are no different to the players at Dundalk or any other premier division club. So to say that they just have their exams to worry about, to ridicule the fact that they have chosen a path where football goes alongside their study is the wrong type of remark and the wrong type of message that should be going out there."
Liam Buckley's St. Pat’s side have been performing well in the league this season, with a their push for a league title still going well and an admirable, albeit slightly disappointing result mid-week in Europe it will be tough challenge for UCD even with the absence of club captain Conor Kenna. "Pats have assembled a good side that are challenging for the league, at whatever stage that you meet them you will have play well to beat them. They confidence is sky high; we know that it is going to be a difficult game. But as we have shown against Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers this year, on our day we are capable of getting our results."
Injuries:Chris Mulhall(groin), Sean Russell (back), Ger Barron (foot), Cillian Morrison (ankle), Graham Rusk (knee)