Saints waiting on Guthrie for derby clash with Rovers

AIRTRICITY Premier Division leaders St Patrick’s Athletic will be hoping to stretch their winning run to four games when they play host to Shamrock Rovers in tonight’s eagerly awaited Dublin derby at Richmond Park (7.45pm).

Manager Pete Mahon has indicated that it will be the same squad as recorded a 2-0 victory over Galway United at Terryland Park last Monday although there will be late fitness test for defender Shane Guthrie, who injured a foot in training this week.

Third-placed Rovers, five points behind the Inchicore men, still have a major injury crisis. Again ruled out are Pat Sullivan, Stephen Bradley, Craig Sives, Sean O’Connor and Don Cowan.

Midfielder Chris Turner, who took a knock in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers, will be given to the last minute to prove his fitness. Hoops manager Michael O’Neill knows the test that faces his side.

“St Pat’s are not top of the table by accident. They have been consistently the best team in the league this season and have conceded just two goals in 10 games,” said O’Neill.

“We are not too despondent despite dropping two points at home to Sligo and – remember we are seven games unbeaten. So will be up for this game after being beaten 2-0 by St Pat’s earlier in the season.”

Dundalk, still in second despite that shock 3-2 home defeat by bottom club Bray Wanderers on Monday, will be hoping to bounce back when they travel to meet neighbours Drogheda United at Hunky Dory Park.

“We were very disappointed with the result against Bray. We conceded sloppy goals – but there is no better way to start back on our winning ways than in a derby game against Drogheda,” said central defender Liam Burns.

Manager Ian Foster will not name his side until just before kick-off with Burns himself doubtful with a hip injury and JJ Melligan having a late fitness test on a calf and groin problem.

Alan Mathews’ Drogheda side, second from bottom with just one win in 10 games, again has a lengthy injury list and still ruled out are Robbie Martin, Glen Fitzpatrick, Brendan McGill and Mick Daly. The one piece of good news is that Eric McGill returns from suspension.

After an indifferent spell of results, champions Bohemians came good with a 2-0 victory over Sporting Fingal on Monday. Now they will be hoping to move up from fifth when they meet improving UCD at Dalymount Park.

Bohs face College minus the services of Owen Heary (hamstring) and Steven Gray (Achilles). The Students, who completed a double over lowly Drogheda, with a 2-0 victory at Belfield on Monday, may have Robbie McGreevy back in the squad after injury. Otherwise boss Martin Russell will not tinker with his panel.

Boosted by that first league win of the season against Dundalk at Oriel Park, Bray will be hoping to further kick-start their season when they take on third-from-bottom Galway United at the Carlisle Grounds.

Daire Doyle, John Mulcahy and Dean Zambra all join Bray’s lengthy injury list. But Mark O’Brien returns from suspension while Dylan Vickers, Adam O’Connor and Ian Tuohy are added to the squad. Galway have skipper and keeper Barry Ryan suspended as Sean Connor attempts to work on a patchwork squad. He will be hoping Karl Sheppard and Anto Flood can show their prowess in front of goal.

Meanwhile, the FAI Appeal Committee last night reduced Bohs player Gareth McGlynn’s two-month ban to one month after the former Derry player appealed his punishment for betting on League of Ireland games.

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