Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United
FRESH FROM THEIR morale-boosting win against UCD last week, Bray Wanderers take on Drogheda at the Carlisle Grounds tomorrow night.
Ahead of the game, Bray Wanderers Director of Football Pat Devlin said: “I’m looking forward to it I know it will be tough as it always is against Drogheda,but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Meanwhile, Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke said: “Bray are a well-organised side and they had a good win last weekend, so that will give them a lot of confidence. We had some wins there last season and I always enjoy going to the Carlisle Grounds. It won’t be easy, but hopefully Monday was the kick that we needed.”
Bray, who have enjoyed a decent start to the season, are without Shane O’Connor (groin) and Stephen Brennan (hamstring), while welcoming back Pierce Sweeney to the side. The visitors have Eric Foley and Paul Crowley missing through suspension, and Declan O’Brien is an injury doubt.
Derry City v Cork City
Speaking in the lead-up to the match, Derry City boss Declan Devine said: “As with every game between the two sides I expect this to be a difficult game. I felt Cork were very unlucky not to come away with a win last week against Shamrock Rovers and I fully expect them to bring that momentum to the Brandywell. Having said that if we play with the fluidity that we displayed in the second half on Tuesday, we should secure all three points.”
His counterpart, Tommy Dunne, added: “Derry is always a tough place to go, but we’ve had a reasonably good record up there in the last couple of years. I watched their game against Linfield the other night and you could see that they are a strong team; they are physically strong, they’re quick and they have good creativity in the side as well.”
Derry’s Rory Patterson will be suspended for the encounter, and Shane McEleney is also unlikely to play after suffering from a bug during the week. For Cork, Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan have been ruled out through injury, while Shane Duggan is suspended. Daryl Horgan (thigh strain) and Jamie Murphy (hamstring) are also doubts.
Dundalk v UCD
(Mick Leahy, pictured above, is a doubt for UCD – INPHO/Ryan Byrne)
This encounter is vital for both sides, as Dundalk have failed to win any of their opening three games this season, while UCD have also struggled.
Ahead of the game, Lilywhites manager Seán McCaffrey has spoken of his admiration for the UCD coach: “Martin Russell is a very good manager and coach. I had him working with me as a coach for the Republic of Ireland U19s. UCD play the game in the right way so they will suit us in that respect, that they will be a footballing side. It will suit us a lot better than playing against Drogheda, who are up-and-at-you and physical.”
The home side will be without long-term absentees Luke Danville (hamstring), Mark Griffin (groin) and Eoghan Osborne (leg). UCD are definitely missing Paul Corry, Gary Burke and Sean Russell, and they could also be without Ger Barron (toe) and Mick Leahy (knee).
Monaghan United v Sligo Rovers
An unbeaten Sligo team travel to Monaghan in the hope of continuing their excellent recent run against the newly promoted side.
Monaghan boss Roddy Collins says his side have been unfortunate in recent games: “Last Friday saw us complete excellent back-to-back performances against two of the top sides in the Premier Division when we drew 1-1 with St Pats at Richmond Park. Travelling to Inchicore most fans would have settled for a share of the points and although they game could have gone either way I believe we were unlucky in the end not to have collected all three points.”
And his opposite number, Sligo boss Ian Baraclough, said: “Monaghan have impressed so far. They gave Shamrock Rovers a scare and held St Patrick’s Athletic to a draw last week, which was a fantastic result. We’ve made a good start and we want to continue that. We’ve shown good spirit in all of our games and we’ll certainly have to do that in Monaghan if we want to get a result.”
Paul Whelan, Shaun Maher and John Reilly have been ruled out for Monaghan, but they are optimistic that Aidan Collins, Darragh Reynor and Bobby Ryan will be fit to play. Alan Keane and Mark Quigley are suspended for Sligo, and Pascal Millien is also unavailable. In addition, Jason McGuinness is a doubt with a hamstring injury.
Shamrock Rovers v Shelbourne
The sides meet on the back of their strong respective starts to the season. Shels secured an impressive victory over Derry last week, while Rovers rescued a point late on against Cork.
Speaking ahead of the game, Rovers boss boss Stephen Kenny said: “Both teams have had strong starts to the season, taking seven points from nine. This is our first Dublin derby and we’re back at home, so we know we’ll have to be at our best; Shels have a good team this year. There have been some very good individual performances in the last few games, but we know there is room for improvement from our game in Cork last week.”
And Shelbourne manager Alan Mathews added: “Where we are in the league is irrelevant really at this stage, but it’s a nice position to find ourselves in.”
Ciaran Kilduff (broken metatarsal), Conor Winn (back) and Stephen O’Donnell (knee surgery) are all injured for Rovers, and Conor Powell is suspended. David Cassidy, Stephen Paisley and Kevin Dawson return for Shels, but Paul Byrne remains on the sidelines.