Bohemians v Bray Wanderers (Dalymount Park, 7.45pm)
BOHEMIANS HAVE AN excellent chance to build on their recent league form when an inconsistent Bray Wanderers visit Dalymount Park tonight.
A 2-1 win gave Bray all three points when the sides met back in May but the clubs have experienced vastly different fortunes since that game by the seaside. Bohs have shrugged off their sluggish start to win three of their last four games in the league and move up to fifth, just four points behind rivals Shamrock Rovers.
On the other hand, Bray are winless since the mid-season break and have dropped down to ninth, six points off the bottom of the table. The Seagulls battled hard for a 0-0 draw against Rovers in Tallaght last time out and Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan sees plenty of reason for caution in that display.
“That was a very dogged performance,” Callaghan told the club’s website. “I saw them last week against Bradford and they put on a good performance for the first half. Bray are always a difficult side to play against, always well organised.”
Team news: Bohs’ Dave Scully serves the second game of his five-match ban while new signing Ken Carr is set to join the squad for the first time following his arrival from Lissadel United.
Kieran “Marty” Waters and John Mulroy are both out for Bray through suspension.
Form (last five league): Bohemians LWDWW Bray LLDLD
Odds: Bohemians 3/4 Draw 5/2 Bray 7/2
Referee: Paul McLoughlin
Dundalk v Cork City (Oriel Park, 7.45pm)
IT HAS BEEN 15 weeks since Cork City last lost a game in the Airtricity League Premier Division but in that time, Tommy Dunne’s men have only won four times.
It is form which has been both encouraging and frustrating in equal measure for City and their fans and they will be anxious to end a run of three successive draws when they face Dundalk in Oriel Park tonight.
The sides’ last league meeting in May started explosively with two goals apiece in the opening 14 minutes before Vinny Sullivan struck a second-half winner for Cork. The visitors will need to be a lot tighter if they are to get a result tonight, Dunne said.
“Week-in, week-out, we are facing difficult games and this will be no different,” he told CorkCityFC.net. “Dundalk are a team well capable of causing problems for anyone in this league as they have shown, and they are on a decent run at the moment. We need to be clued in and vigilant if we are to get a result.”
Team news: Dundalk add new signings Lorcan Shannon, Mark O’Brien and Paul Whelan but Liam Burns (dead leg), Peter Thomas (shoulder), Eoghan Osborne (shin) and Ben McLaughlin (thigh) are out. Paul Walsh (groin) and John Mountney (dead leg) are also injury doubts for Darius Kierans.
For Cork, Colin Healy is rated as very doubtful with a thigh strain while Graham McCarthy (ankle) and Cathal Lordan (knee) are doubts. Keigan Parker is suspended.
Form: Dundalk LLDDL Cork DWDDD
Odds: Dundalk 3/1 Draw 9/4 Cork 10/11
Referee: Damien Hancock
UCD v Shamrock Rovers (UCD Bowl, 7.45pm)
MARTIN RUSSELL HAS been left to mull over missed opportunities more than once in recent weeks but UCD’s form will still give Shamrock Rovers pause for thought when the champions visit Belfield tonight.
The Students haven’t won in the league since they turned over Sligo Rovers in May but single-goal losses against Derry, Bohemians and Drogheda as well as a draw against St Pat’s prove that they aren’t a million miles off the pace.
An injury-time equaliser from Paul O’Conor sealed a dramatic 2-2 comeback for UCD when the sides met in Tallaght in May and Russell knows that he needs a similar performance tonight.
“We weren’t able to gain the points our play deserved at Hunky Dorys Park, but if we maintain the attributes that we displayed there and also on our last home tie with St Pats, we will prove ourselves worthy opponents to our visitors this evening”
“It’s a game against the champions which we are looking forward to and gives our young players a chance and a platform to perform which they will be relishing.”
Rovers welcome new signings Shane O’Connor and Tommy Stewart, back for a second spell in Tallaght, into their squad.
Team news: UCD are without John Kelly, Graham Rusk, Chris Mulhall and Cillian Morrison through injury while David O’Connor and Samir Belhour are both suspended. Goalkeeper Ger Barron is set to return from a toe injury.
Rovers are without Aaron Greene (knee), Graham Gartland (back) and Stephen O’Donnell (hamstring), while Ken Oman will do a fitness test before the game.
Form: UCD DDLDL Shamrock Rovers LDDDW
Odds: UCD 6/1 Draw 11/4 Shamrock Rovers 1/2
Referee: Neil Doyle
Saturday: Sligo Rovers v Drogheda United (The Showgrounds, 7.45pm)
Airtricity League First Division (Friday, 7.45pm unless stated)
- Athlone Town v Wexford Youths
- Finn Harps v SD Galway
- Limerick FC v Longford Town
- Mervue United v Waterford United (Saturday, 7pm)