Cork are just three points behind leaders Bohs and one behind Derry as they seek to stretch their unbeaten run to seven games following last week’s 2-1 comeback victory over Dundalk. Not surprisingly, manager Paul Doolin is reasonably happy with progress to date.
“The players are working well and I think we are becoming more of a unit,” he says. “I think it will take time for us to gel fully, but we are moving in the right direction and the main thing is to build on what we have done already. We’ve been on a good run, but we’re not getting carried away as the important thing is we develop consistency.”
Stephen O’Donnell (knee) and Neal Horgan (elbow) remain sidelined for City, while Robert Mezeckis (achilles) and Davin O’Neill (ankle) are both struggling and look unlikely to be available.
Although Galway come into the game on the back of a morale-denting 1-3 home defeat by Shamrock Rovers, Doolin expects the Tribesmen to provide stiff opposition at Turner’s Cross.
“We faced Galway in a pre-season friendly and I thought they were a decent side,” said Doolin. “They may have surprised some people with their good start to the season, but I am sure they will prove difficult opponents.”
Champions Bohemians face Bray Wanderers at Dalymount Park having being held scoreless in Sligo last Saturday. But with Bray themselves having drawn five of their eight games to date, Bohs boss Pat Fenlon knows the three points will be hard earned.
For the home side, Glen Cronin is still out with a thigh injury while Mark Rossiter will be sidelined for some weeks with a hamstring injury. However, Brian Shelley could be back for tonight’s game.
For the first time this season Eddie Gormley has an injury free squad to choose from. Gormley said: “Bohs are a very good side and if we don’t have the proper work ethic it will be a long night.”
Second-placed Derry are at home to Dundalk and, having been beaten by Sligo before being held by Bray, are anxious to return to winning ways. The Candystripes will be boosted by the return from injury of Peter Hutton and Gerard Doherty but Clive Delaney is doubtful with a hip injury and Kevin Deery is still out.
Dundalk, second from bottom, are set to be without Liam Burns and Michael Daly who have both have hamstring injuries while doubts remain over Declan O’Brien and Thomas Heary (both hamstring problems) and Shaun Kelly (ankle). Defender Simon Kelly returns from suspension but midfielder Michael Collins remains unavailable.
Says manager Sean Connor: “It’s a huge challenge to go to Derry. But the players are all looking forward to it.”
Basement side Drogheda United, are at home to a resurgent Sligo Rovers whose draw with Bohs last week left manager Paul Cook lavishing praise on his players.
“We started the season slowly but are picking up points now,” said Cook. “To pick up four points against Derry and Bohs is magnificent.”
Drogheda will be without Robbie Martin, Shane Barrett, Robbie Farrell, John Paul Kelly, William Woods and recent debutant Eoghan Osbourne who suffered an injury playing for the Irish U-17s on Tuesday. Robbie Clarke, who missed the 2-1 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic, and Alan McNally are both expected to be available.
* All tonight’s Premier Division games kick off at 7.45. The Shamrock Rovers v St Pat’s game takes place tomorrow in Tallaght Stadium, at 7pm.