After securing a solid third place finish and qualification for Europe for the second successive season, Buckley expects Sligo Rovers to kick on and be in the thick of the title challenge next year.
However, the Dubliner knows the close season will be crucial to his team’s prospects of keeping pace with Rovers and the other contenders for the throne with Derry City, St Pat’s, Bohemians and Dundalk intent on strengthening their squads.
“It will be (competitive),” he predicted. “When you look at the finances Derry will have next year for instance, I’m sure they can buy everyone and anyone at this stage. Pats will be in the same sort of scenario. Dundalk, changing hands, will have to regroup but I’m sure they will want to push on. Bohemians have done great in Europe this year, So we’re competing with all these clubs. From where we’re at and from a squad point of view, we just need to strengthen that up so when we do pick up injuries and suspensions we can cope with it better.”
Derry will be hoping the Bit O’Red can do them a favour on the final day and inflict defeat on their rivals for fourth, Bohs, at the Showgrounds.
And while Buckley insists Derry won’t be on his mind on Friday night, he’s determined to finish the campaign on a high in front of Sligo’s home support.
“As much as I like Derry, it’s not about doing anyone any favours. We’re in a professional business and we’ll be doing our best to beat Bohs.
“I think we’ll have one or two back who were missing this evening.”