Bohemians v Drogheda United (7.45pm)
BOHS CAPTAIN OWEN HEARY will miss the visit of Drogheda United with the hamstring injury he picked up against Bray Wanderers, while winger Lee Dixon is missing with a toe injury.
However, the Dublin side’s manager Aaron Callaghan hopes to have Ryan McEvoy fit again after a groin problem.
“Drogheda are playing with confidence, though they had a defeat last weekend,” Callaghan said.
“It’s going to be a difficult game but we have to concentrate on what we are doing, impose our game on them, and make sure we keep our concentration. If we keep playing the way we are playing I’ve no doubt we’ll get a result.”
Drogheda, meanwhile, are reporting no injury worries for the trip to Dalymount Park and hope to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Sligo Rovers.
“We came up against the best team in the league last week and it was clear from the game why they are the best team,” said boss Mick Cooke.
“Having said that, we were without three of our best players and that certainly affected us.
“This week we face Bohemians who are going through a tough time, similar to what we were going through last season, but they have done well in more recent weeks and I feel they will give us a tough game on their home turf.
“We had 21 players training on Tuesday and I will be making some changes from last week to keep everyone on their toes. The priority for us now is to get back on a winning streak.”
Dundalk v Bray Wanderers (7.45pm)
DUNDALK ENTERTAIN BRAY on the back of two defeats in a row, most recently to Cork City, and are boosted by the return to fitness of Chris Shiels after suspension.
Derek Foran is recovering from treatment on a back injury and remains a doubt, Luke Danville is out with an ankle injury but Mark Griffin is close to a return.
“I felt we were excellent in Cork, especially when you consider we started the match with eight teenagers,” manager Sean McCaffrey said.
“It’s a baptism of fire for our squad, but we got involved in a shootout and we could have come out on the winning side.”
For Bray, Shane O’Connor has been added to the travelling party after coming through the Leinster Senior Cup defeat to St Patrick’s CY on Monday, while Adam Mitchell also travels after recovering from the head injury he suffered against Drogheda United.
Referring to last weekend’s win over Bohemians, Pat Devlin said: “They were a valuable three points to get on the board although we have played better and lost.”
On the Dundalk game, he added: ”It’s a difficult assignment against Oriel Park but hopefully we can get a result.”
St Patrick’s Athletic v Cork City (7.45pm)
ST PAT’S HOPE to make it 11 games unbeaten at Richmond Park, against a Cork City side that has won three of its last four fixtures.
James Chambers and Mark Rossiter are both out with knee injuries, while Greg Bolger sits this one out after reaching four yellow cards.
For the Leesiders, Shane O’Connor (foot) and Jamie Murphy (ankle) are still out, along with knee injury victims Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan. Tommy Dunne’s injury woes are compounded by the fact that defender Gavin Kavanagh is sitting college exams and won’t take part, while captain Dan Murray is still suffering with his stomach injury.
Central defender Eoghan Murphy has been promoted from the double-winning under-19 side.
Finally, John Dunleavy is rated at 50-50.
“We’re missing a few bodies at the moment, but thankfully we’ve lads who are ready to come in as Cork’s form in the last few weeks has been very good and Tommy has them playing well,” said Saints boss Liam Buckley.
“You expect a difficult game from any Cork City side so they’ll come here full of confidence, but we’ve been playing well lately so hopefully we can keep that form up in Inchicore this Friday.”
Cork boss Dunne said: “We are going to Inchicore, which is never an easy venue, and facing the in-form team in the division. They are unbeaten; they have gone to Derry and won, gone to Sligo, and should have won, and they had a great win over Shamrock Rovers as well.”
UCD v Shelbourne (7.45pm)
SHELBOURNE SECURED THEIR first win in three fixtures against Monaghan last week, while the Students – who sit five places below Shels in 10th – are boosted by recent draws against Shamrock Rovers and the in-form Drogheda United.
Tomas Boyle (back), Chris Mulhall (groin), Sean Russell (back) and Ger Barron (foot) are all doubts for the home side, while Shels duo Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley are missing once again through injury.
Speaking ahead of the game, Shelbourne manager Alan Mathews said: “It’s the next challenge. They’ve had a good start to the season. Going out to Belfield is always difficult. If we play like we did against Monaghan last week] and show the character that we’ve shown – we’ll be OK.”
UCD boss Martin Russell added: “We look forward to Shelbourne on our home grounds, and we look to put our best foot forward, we know that Shels are going to come to win. All their squad will be looking to do well. It has been a competitive league so far, and this game will be fought in a similar vein.”
Sligo Rovers v Shamrock Rovers (Saturday, 7.45pm)
ALAN KEANE RETURNS for the Bit o’ Red, having overcome a knee problem, while Joseph Ndo is a doubt for the clash against Shamrock Rovers in Sligo on Saturday.
“Both teams will look to win the game. The matches last year were very close and I think it could be quite cagey to begin with,” said Sligo manager Ian Baraclough.
“It was important we had a positive outcome against Drogheda last week after the draw with St Pat’s. We did it without one or two key performers and I was very pleased with it.
“I don’t think Shamrock played particularly badly against UCD but 2-0 is a tricky lead sometimes and UCD fought back. They will have the same attitude as when we went to Drogheda, wanting to bounce back with a big performance.
“The changing kick-off times have not suited the supporters or the club and this week is something the players have to adjust to. The Showgrounds is at it’s best on a Saturday night but I know the fans will try to get behind us as best they can and hopefully they’ll see a good game between two of the best sides in the country.”