However, at Turner’s Cross the aim for Paul Doolin will be to keep pace with Pat Fenlon’s title holders as Cork City host Shamrock Rovers in a bid to recover after two bruising defeats on the bounce (all games 7.45pm).
Fenlon said he was delighted with his team’s win over Galway United on Tuesday night, one which came on the back of a crucial victory on Leeside last Friday but is under no illusions about what is always a tense Dublin derby.
“It’s going to be a tough game, going to Inchicore is never easy. Jeff (Kenna) has had a horrible time with injuries but they have got some very decent players,” he said.
Mark Rossiter remains out with a groin injury while Joseph Ndo misses out with a hamstring problem. Glen Crowe and Owen Heary have both returned to training following hamstring injuries, and Fenlon hopes to have both available for selection. Jason McGuinness is still suspended.
For Pat’s, Darragh Ryan (hamstring) and Gareth O’Connor (thigh strain) have joined Alan Cawley (ankle), Gints Freimans (knee), Gary Dempsey (leg), Mark Leech (leg) and Stuart Byrne (suspended) on the sidelines. But John Lester returns after suspension and Bobby Ryan is also expected to make a return to action.
“Bohs’ victory in Cork last Friday and again this week against Galway silenced the doubters who thought they were beginning to show a few weaknesses and my players have their work cut out,” admitted Kenna.
Meanwhile, Doolin has said his Cork City side will be keen to bounce back after that defeat to Bohs, not to mention Tuesday’s loss at his former club which left them trailing by three points.
“We have put together an excellent run of form over the past two months, but unfortunately our unbeaten run has come to an end. Neither I nor the players accept losing, but we are still sitting in second place, just three points off the top and we need to remember that we are still in a good position.”
Joe Gamble is the latest to be sidelined after picking up a knee injury a week ago so he is added to a list including Robert Mezeckis (achilles), Davin O’Neill (ankle) and Shane Duggan (ankle).
For Rovers, who lie just three points behind tonight’s hosts, there are slight doubts about the fitness of Darragh Maguire and Stephen Rice, while Sean Webb remains out due a back problem.
“This is a game we’re really looking forward to. Cork City have been excellent this season and if we win this game we’ll go level with them, which shows how much progress we’re making,” said Hoops’ boss Michael O’Neill.
“Turner’s Cross is one of the better grounds in the league, there should be a big crowd out for the visit of Shamrock Rovers – and we’ll have plenty of vocal support.”
Third-placed Derry City travel to the Showgrounds to take on Sligo Rovers and Candystripes boss Stephen Kenny will have to plan without Liam Kearney (broken leg), Barry Molloy (ankle ligaments), Tommy Stewart (thigh) and Tam McManus (calf) while Stephen Gray and Gareth McGlynn will face fitness test ahead of game.
Mauro Almeida (ankle) and Sean Doherty (hamstring) both failed to make the grade for the defeat against Bray and will be joining Stephen Parkhouse (knee/ankle), Conor O’Grady (suspended) and Alan Keane (suspended) in the stand for Friday night’s game at home against Derry City. Romuald Boco is also away on international duty.
In the other two matches, Galway United take on Drogheda United at Terryland Park and Dundalk face Bray Wanderers at Oriel Park.