Sligo get chance to close on leaders

WITH leaders St Patrick’s Athletic not in league action until their clash with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght on Sunday, Sligo Rovers can move within a point of the Inchicore men at the top of the Premier Division with victory over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds tonight (7.45pm).

“We are on a good run of form at the minute although we didn’t play well in the EA Sports Cup tie against Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Monday. But we finished strongly for a 2-1 win,” said Sligo boss Paul Cook.

“That was an important victory as we want to be in competition for all the trophies.”

After such an excellent start to the season, Bray have slipped up with successive defeats by Bohemians, St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk to leave them lying seventh.

Bray have central defender Adam Mitchell back after suspension but the versatile Joe Kendrick serves a one-match ban after being red-carded in Tuesday’s 5-1 home drubbing by Dundalk.

Darren Quigley, Stephen Brennan, Gary Shaw and Jake Kelly are all long-term injury absentees as boss Pat Devlin attempts to get the Seagulls flying again.

“That game against Dundalk could have ended 3-3 — it was just one of those matches. We failed to take our chances, Dundalk took theirs,” said Devlin.

Fourth-placed Derry City travel to improving Drogheda but manager Stephen Kenny is without the injured Kevin Deery and Barry Molloy.

“At the start of the season, if we knew that we would be in our current position, we would have been satisfied,” said Kenny.

After what was effectively his reserve team overcame UCD 3-0 in the EA Sports Cup quarter-final at Belfield on Monday, many of those youngsters could be pushing for inclusion.

Drogheda, still six points ahead of bottom-side Galway United, have Mark O’Brien back after suspension while midfielder Jack Flynn is still ruled out by injury.

Dundalk, with 11 goals in their last two league games, will fancy their chances of another three points when they host Bohs at Oriel Park.

With manager Ian Foster in England completing his UEFA-Pro licence, his assistant Darius Kierans takes charge of the team.

Colin Hawkins and Jason Byrne are both doubtful while definitely ruled out by injury are Eoghan Osborne and Stephen McDonnell.

Bohemians, level on points with Dundalk, have in-form strikers Christy Fagan and Anto Flood both available with goalkeeper Chris O’Connor ruled out by injury.

“We have done all right on our last few visits to Oriel Park — I am confident we can get a result,” said Bohs boss Pat Fenlon.

In tonight’s other game, at Terryland Park, Galway United will be desperate to improve on their miserable record of just one win in 20 league games when they take on third-from-bottom UCD at Terryland Park.

“These are two teams on a bad run of form. We have to win, this game is a massive match for us. If we were to lose, we would be 13 points behind UCD,” said Galway boss Sean Connor.

Shaun Maher has a late fitness test but definitely ruled out by injuries are Sean Kelly, Johnny Keane, Joseph Yoffe and Shane Keogh.

The Students, who ended a dreadful run of seven straight league defeats with a 2-2 draw at home to Derry last Friday, have defender Sean Harding suspended while Robbie Creevy is sidelined by injury.

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