Bohemians -v- Shelbourne
Shelbourne are at full strength for the short trip to Dalymount Park to face Bohemians on Monday night, with no injury problems reported after their 3-1 defeat to league leaders Sligo Rovers.
The sides have shared away wins in both of their fixtures against each other so far this season, though Bohemians will hope to maintain their slender advantage over their Dublin counterparts, which currently stands at a point, in the standings.
Dave Scully is out for the Phibsborough side as he serves the final, fifth game of his suspension, but Karl Moore returns after his own one-match ban.
Owen Heary and Keith Ward, rested for the 2-0 defeat to Derry City, also return.
“Shels have been a little bit inconsistent but they’re well capable of going and getting a result anywhere. They’re a tough, organised team with some big lads. It will be a difficult game again,” said Bohs manager Aaron Callaghan.
Bray Wanderers -v- Derry City
Jason Byrne was sent off in the shock 1-0 win over St Pat’s on Friday and will play no part for the visit of Derry to the Carlisle Grounds.
Kieran Marty Waters is likely to come in from the wing to replace the veteran, with Dean Marshall set to come in. There are doubts over Adam Hanlon and Adam Mitchell, while Kevin Knight and Stephen Brennan are also missing.
Derry, meanwhile, ended a run of three games without a win by beating Bohemians 2-0 last week and boss Declan Devine has no new injury worries going into the game.
Only Kevin Deery is definitely sidelined.
“We have to take winning the Bray match as our next mission – we’ve got to make sure that we go there and take all three points,” Devine told the Derry Journal.
“They’ve beaten St Pat’s now away from home so we know it won’t be easy. We’ve just got to make sure that in the next game and every game, we give a good account of ourselves.”
Cork City -v- Drogheda United (7.45pm)
Cork City suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat to UCD last Friday night but can bounce quickly back with a win over Drogheda United at Turner’s Cross.
The Rebels’ boss Tommy Dunne knows that beating the league’s second-placed team will not be easy, however, especially without defender John Dunleavy.
Dunleavy damaged ankle ligaments against the Students and will be out for three or four weeks.
Neal Horgan (knee). Graham McCarthy (ankle), Cathal Lordan (knee), Eoghan Murphy (ankle) and Kevin Burns (ankle) are all still sidelined, while a late decision will be made on the participation of Colin Healy, who has a thigh strain.
“It is an important game for us, and we have to try and pick up a result on Monday,” said Dunne.
“We need to get back to the basics of our game, being tighter as a team and to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game, because we did not do that on Friday night.
“Drogheda are probably the surprise package in the league this season. They are having a fantastic season. Mick Cooke has done an excellent job there, and he deserves all the credit he gets. They have some excellent attacking players, and they will be difficult opponents for us.”
Drogheda go into tonight’s match having also tasted defeat on Friday – they lost 2-0 to Shamrock Rovers.
“I was disappointed not to get anything from the Shamrock Rovers game, but the last time we lost to Rovers we went nine games unbeaten so hopefully we can start that again,” said manager Mick Cooke.
“We have shown that we can bounce back from defeat and we are now getting into the final third of the season and the pressure is building, but we are still in second place and all we can do is focus on the next game.”
Derek Prendergast misses out through suspension, while Cathal Brady picked up a knock on Friday night and is doubtful.
Dundalk -v- St Patrick’s Athletic
Bottom side Dundalk are without Liam Burns through injury for the visit of St. Pat’s, while both Chris Shields and Stephen Maher are both banned.
Peter Cherrie will return in goal after missing the friendly clash with Chelsea.
The Lilywhites’ interim boss Darius Kierans felt that the clash against the Premier League side was the ideal preparation for such a big match.
“You have to admire Liam Buckley,” he told extratime.ie.
“He has gone into European football and stuck to his principals. He got them playing the right way, ball on the ground, they play entertaining football, they play out from the back and do all the right things.
“The game against Chelsea worked out perfect with us having no game on Friday. Pat’s will move the ball about a lot like Chelsea did so hopefully we’ve learned from that.”
Kenny Browne and Darren Meenan will both be missing for the Inchicore side, having been sent off in the match against Bray. Mark Rossiter is injured.
St. Pat’s are currently fourth in the table, 11 points behind leaders Sligo, although they do have games in hand on the sides above them.
Sligo Rovers -v- UCD
Both Sligo and UCD go into tonight’s match on the back of 3-1 wins last Friday – Sligo defeating Shelbourne, UCD beating Cork City.
While Danny North is still sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury, Sligo boss Ian Baraclough has no other injury or suspension worries before the visit of the Students.
“It is a massive game in the season, and because it is the next game,” he said. “We had Saturday off to recover from Shelbourne and went through preparation on Sunday.
“We have to be fully focused on this game. I want to avenge the defeat to UCD for a start because that one defeat is a blot on our copybook at the moment. But that night we were beaten soundly. That wasn’t a fluke. UCD beat us well and these are big games coming up now.
“It will be a tough one. There will be someone that puts together a run of wins from teams behind us and if we don’t look after ourselves, they will make up ground. Nobody hands you anything, you have to be professional, work hard and treat each game the same as the previous one.”
UCD boss Martin Russell is still without Graham Rusk, Cillian Morisson and Samir Belhout, as well as goalkeeper John Kelly. Chris Mulhall and Tom O’Halloran are both major doubts with groin injuries.
Despite all the absentees, Russell is upbeat.
“We’ve had a good week with two wins and six valuable points, we go to Sligo knowing that we are facing one of the toughest challenges in the league at the moment.
“I’ve been delighted with the application of the players throughout the season, and we have got the results in the previous two games when earlier in the season our good performances didn’t yield points. The wins will boost us ahead of the games ahead.
“Sligo at home are formidable team at home in front of a big Showgrounds crowd so it will be a tough game but one we are looking forward to.”