Dundalk will be looking to stay clear at the top and avenge their Setanta Cup Final defeat when they host a Sligo Rovers side who, after something of a false start, are rapidly making up ground on the leading pack.
“The players have responded well to the Setanta Cup final knockback,” said Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny on the back of that 7-0 thrashing of Drogheda United. “We have 13 different players who have scored this season so we are not relying on any individual and that gives us confidence against a strong Sligo team.”
For his part, Bit O’ Red manager Ian Baraclough has hailed his side’s unbeaten run of eight league games.
“It has been a great response to our poor start to the season,” he said. “All credit goes to the players for the manner in which they done it. We needed to put together a run, and we have done it in a strong fashion.”
Second-placed Cork City travel to Bray, having answered back-to-back defeats with back-to-back victories on the campaign trail. Dan Murray and Colin Healy both have hamstring injuries and will be assessed closer to kick-off while Brian Lenihan will miss the game as he is away with the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad.
Yesterday it emerged that striker Anthony Elding, who just recently left City, has joined Irish League side Ballinamallard United.
Former City boss Alan Mathews welcomes back Adam Mitchell and Niall Cooney to his Bray squad though Jake Kelly and Shane O’Connor will remain out for a number of weeks.
Joint second with Cork, Shamrock Rovers host Bohemians in the big Dublin derby in Tallaght (8pm). For the Hoops, Conor Kenna and Sean Heaney are out of the game with hamstring injuries and Robert Bayly is suspended while, for Bohs, Derek Pender (hamstring) is facing a late fitness test and Roberto Lopes returns from suspension.
Fourth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic travel to Thomond Park where Limerick manager Stuart Taylor says his side must “stop pressing the self-destruct button” as they prepare to take on Liam Buckley’s reigning champions.
Elsewhere, Drogheda United, who yesterday launched a Soccer Scholarship Academy with DIT, are away to Derry City while struggling Athlone Town host UCD.
In the First Division, it’s Cobh Ramblers v Galway FC, Waterford United v Longford Town and Finn Harps v Shelbourne (8pm).
Unless otherwise indicated, tonight’s games kick off at 7.45pm.