Full-strength Fingal bid to regain top spot

WITH the lead changing hands on almost a match to match basis, Sporting Fingal have the opportunity to go back to the top of the Airtricity Premier Division if they can overcome UCD at the Belfield Bowl this evening.

A win would see the Dublin side leapfrog St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk, and the good news for Fingal manager Liam Buckley is that his injury list is thinning out.

Defender John Frost (hamstring), goalkeeper Brendan Clarke (ankle) and midfielder Kevin Dawson (calf) allreturn, having missed last Friday’s 2-1 win over Dundalk. However, Shane Barrett is still nursing a thigh strain and will be another week out of action. Shaun Williams is back in contention for a midfield spot after completing his two-match suspension.

“I’m delighted to be in the unusual position of having virtually a fully fit squad and competition for places can only be good for team performance,” says Buckley. “We’ve been on this unbeaten run of eight games (seven league, one Leinster Senior Cup) since losing the season opener and it has certainly lifted morale amongst the lads.

“It’s very early days yet in the campaign and we’ll take each game on its own merits. There are only a handful of points separating the top six and any team is capable of beating other sides on their day.”

UCD boss Martin Russell also has virtually a full squad from which to select, with the exception of Brian Connaughton and Gareth Matthews.

“I have players good enough for the team who can’t even get a place on the bench,” says the manager.

“They have to be patient. Their opportunity will come and then the onus is on them to grab it.”

Kick-off at the Belfield Bowl is 7.45pm.

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