Leaders Dundalk face revitalised Bray while City host dangerous Bohs

After last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Oriel Park saw Dundalk retain their six-point advantage over Cork City, the top two in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division resume their title contest this evening, with the Lilywhites away to Bray Wanderers and the Rebels at home to Bohemians.

Leaders Dundalk face revitalised Bray while City host dangerous Bohs

The last time Dundalk and Bray met, the league leaders put the Seasiders to the sword, winning 8-1 at Oriel Park.

However, with four successive league victories under their belts since losing to Cork in June, Bray, under the recently-appointed Mick Cooke, won’t be lacking in confidence for the visit of the champions to the Carlisle Grounds.

For Dundalk, skipper Stephen O’Donnell has recovered from the knock which prevented him from starting against Cork City, while new signing Ciaran Kilduff is in the squad after completing his transfer from St Patrick’s Athletic.

Manager Stephen Kenny said: “It was a hectic week for us last week, with the games against BATE Borisov and Cork City, but the players were excellent. They are hungry to win the game in Bray. We have had a few days rest after the game against Cork and the players are ready to go after it, we have everyone fit and we’re looking forward to going there.”

Cork City welcome fifth-placed Bohs to Turner’s Cross (8pm, live on Setanta Ireland), with manager John Caulfield knowing the Gypsies will be a test.

“It’s a huge game for us,” he said. “It’s a quick turnaround after a high-intensity game against Dundalk last Sunday, so this week has been about getting our recovery done to be ready for tonight, because Bohemians have done exceptionally well this season. They have taken some great results — winning at Dundalk, beating Rovers and, obviously, last weekend they beat Derry 4-2. They’re back on a bit of a roll, so we will have to be on top of our game.”

John Kavanagh remains sidelined for City with a hamstring injury, while Gavan Holohan will also miss out, having suffered an ankle knock in Dundalk. Darren Dennehy is absent again, but Ross Gaynor is back training and is expected to be available for selection.

The respect between Caulfield and Keith Long appears to be mutual, with the Bohs boss suggesting Cork were a little unlucky not to take all three points at Oriel last weekend.

“In my view, Cork marginally shaded that game,” he says. “They have good players, experienced players, international players. They are a top side and it’s a tough challenge, but we have to go down there and test ourselves against them. If we’re organised and disciplined we have a chance of picking up points.”

Anto Murphy and Paddy Kavanagh are suspended for the Dubliners, while Lorcan Fitzgerald (hamstring) and Ismahil Akinade (shoulder) are both rated 50/50 for tonight’s televised game at the Cross. Bohs yesterday confirmed the arrival at the club of Jake Kelly from Dundalk.

Five points behind Cork are St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers, both aiming to close the gap. Pats, who added ex-Derry City man Shane McEleney to their ranks this week, are at home to Galway United, while the Hoops — who have a game in hand on the top three — must travel to United Park to take on Drogheda.

In tonight’s other Premier Division game, Derry City will be anxious to arrest their slide when they entertain Longford Town at the Brandywell, while in the First Division, it’s Waterford United v Cobh Ramblers at the RSC, Shelbourne v Wexford Youths at Tolka Park, and Finn Harps v Athlone Town at Finn Park (8pm).

Unless otherwise stated, tonight’s games kick off at 7.45pm.

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