This is the first time the teams meet in the top division since Friday, February 2, 1996 when Sligo Rovers overcame the visitors 2-1. It was the same score earlier in the season when the sides met in St Mel's Park.
Athlone are without Derek Prendergast and Barry Clancy (through suspensions) and Alan Byrne (injury) and James O'Brien (flu) are major doubts.
For Sligo, Danny North is suspended and long-term absentee Gavin Peers is out through injury.
Ross Gaynor and Kieran Djilali are also very doubtful.
# Sligo have not lost at home in nine games. The last team to beat them in The Showgrounds was Molde in the Champions League qualifiers
# Sligo Rovers squad member Jake Dykes is related to John Joe Dykes, who won a Free State Cup medal with Athlone Town in 1924 and who captained Ireland as an Athlone Town player in a friendly against Estonia in Paris after the 1924 Olympic football tournament
# Sligo Rovers and Athlone Town have always had close connections with a plethora of players moving between the clubs. In recent years alone, Jim Sheridan, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Danny O'Leary, Ian Rossiter, Padraig Moran, Paul McTiernan, Steve Feeney, Stephen Mullen and Ciaran Kelly are among those to have donned the Bit of Red and the Bit of Blue.
# The last time Sligo Rovers lost an opening game when it was played at home was in the 1999/2000 season when visitors UCD took the points with a 2-1 win despite a Padraig Moran goal for Rovers.
# Athlone lead the all-time head to head record between the clubs leading with 24 wins to Sligo's 22 (stat: Sligo Rovers website)
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