LEADERS SLIGO ROVERS will look to take advantage of a rare weekend off to stretch their lead on a busy night in the Airtricity League Premier Division.
Ian Baraclough’s men were the top flight’s idle side last Friday night, allowing Drogheda United to cut the gap between Sligo and the chasing pack to six points.
But with Drogheda hosting Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers both facing tricky derby tests against Shelbourne and Bohemians this evening, the Bit O’Red will be keen to pounce on any slips when they host struggling Dundalk.
Goal machine Danny North and Iarfhlaith Davoren are both still absent due to injury but Sligo were given a boost today when midfield general David Cawley signed a new deal which will keep him at the Showgrounds until 2013.
“I was in Oriel Park on Friday and I’m not sure Dundalk deserved to lose [2-1 v UCD],” Baraclough told SligoRovers.com.
There was a contentious penalty decision and when you’re down the bottom sometimes things don’t go for you. They have some dangerous players and we’ll have to work very hard to get the result.
With both Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers breathing down their necks, Drogheda know that there is no margin for error when Derry City visit Hunky Dorys Park tonight. Mick Cooke’s men took all three points following a frantic second half against Bray in the Carlisle Grounds on Friday, coming from a goal down to win 3-1.
After winning 3-2 against Bohemians on Friday night, Pat’s will be looking to complete a derby double when they travel to Tolka Park to face an out-of-sorts Shelbourne. John Russell, who missed the Dalymount win through injury is a doubt again as are Chris Forrester and Ian Bermingham.
Darren Meenan returns from suspension for Pat’s as do Kevin Dawson, Gareth Mathews and Brian Shorthall for Shels. Glenn Cronin and Paddy Kavanagh miss tonight’s game to serve one-match bans of their own while Anto Murphy is expected to be fit following a back injury.
In Tallaght, Shamrock Rovers know that they cannot afford any more slips in the race for European football. The Hoops, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Shelbourne last time, host a young Bohemians side who handed down an embarrassing 4-0 thrashing when the sides met in June.
“We are unbeaten at home in the league and we want to keep that going,” manager Stephen Kenny told ShamrockRovers.ie.
But we need to turn the draws into wins and want to start with a victory tomorrow night. It is important that we respond in a positive way to Friday night’s disappointment.
Craig Sives (knee) and Conor Powell (dead leg) are both doubts while Owen Heary (back) and Ryan McEvoy (ankle) are set to miss out for Bohs.
Cork host Bray Wanderers hoping to build on Friday night’s 1-0 win against Derry in the Brandywell. Daryl Horgan, Dan Murray and Neal Horgan are all available again for City, who have to do without Colin Healy (thigh), John Dunleavy (ankle), Cathal Lordan (knee) and Eoghan Murphy (ankle).
Airtricity League Premier Division fixtures (7.45pm unless stated)
- Cork City v Bray Wanderers
- Drogheda United v Derry City
- Sligo Rovers v Dundalk
- Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians (8pm)
- Shelbourne v St Patrick’s Athletic (8pm)