Donegal prepare for Sligo

Donegal followers will get a first look this season at Michael Murphy on Saturday night when they entertain Sligo in their opening game of the Allianz National League, in Ballybofey.

Donegal followers will get a first look this season at Michael Murphy on Saturday night when they entertain Sligo in their opening game of the Allianz National League, in Ballybofey.

Murphy, who has been college tied for the entire Dr. McKenna Cup campaign, will be back in the Donegal line-up for the first time since last July's qualifier defeat to Armagh in Crossmaglen.

Murphy is the county captain for the coming season and is expected to lead the Donegal attack against the Connacht finalists who were promoted from Division 3 last year.

He is one of a host of anticipated changes from last Saturday night's Dr. McKenna defeat to Fermanagh, with Neil McGee - who successfully appealed his four week ban after being sent off against Tyrone - set to return to anchor the defence while Karl Lacey, Rory Kavanagh and Colm McFadden are also expected to be named in Jim McGuinness's starting 15 for what is a crunch tie.

Paddy McGrath and Kevin Mulhern, who were both rested last weekend as a precautionary measure, are expected to be back in contention.

"We've got five or six of the lads back training last week and that has been positive and we are expecting a few more to return this week. We will be definitely stronger for next Saturday night and the start of the League," said the Donegal boss.

"We'll have a couple of lads coming back for the Sligo game and while I'd prefer if they had played a few games but that said, we have to look forward to the game next weekend positively and based on the fact that we rested a number of players on Saturday night we'd hope the boys with knocks will be fresher by the middle of the week and will be fit to take their place next Saturday night.

"The Sligo game is a big game for us. It's a home match and we've only got three of them all together so it's going to be important to start it well and get points on the table."

Saturday night's game is the first of seven games in Division Two of the Allianz League which also includes away games against Tyrone, Derry, Meath, and Laois with Kildare and Antrim the other home games.