Monday's LOI Premier Division previews

Former Sligo Rovers player John Russell will be in caretaker charge for Monday’s visit of Derry City after the Bit O’Red board parted ways with Liam Buckley over the weekend
Monday's LOI Premier Division previews

Liam Buckley has become the first managerial casualty of the Premier Division season. Assistant John Russell takes charge for Sligo's clash with Derry. ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Former Sligo Rovers player John Russell will be in caretaker charge for Monday’s visit of Derry City after the Bit O’Red board parted ways with Liam Buckley over the weekend.

Buckley’s three campaigns at the helm oversaw improving finishes of seventh, fourth and third in the table but a five-match winless streak has them sixth approaching the midpoint of this season.

“A lot has happened in the last 24 hours but the players have worked extremely hard on Sunday morning and are fully focused on the game,” said Russell, who had acted as Buckley’s assistant.

Derry lost further ground on leaders Shamrock Rovers last Friday by falling to a 2-1 home defeat against Dundalk. Their second defeat of a four-match winless run leaves them seven points adrift of the three-in-row chasing Hoops as they hit the halfway stage of the season.

“I know from the characters we have in the dressing-room that we’ll come back to winning games,” said a defiant Derry chief Ruaidhrí Higgins, still operating without his two marquee off-season recruits, Michael Duffy and Pat McEleney, due to injury. 

“There’s no excuses and we won’t feel sorry for ourselves. This is a busy period and we’ve to crack on for a big three points against Sligo.” 

Stephen Bradley’s Rovers travel to Drogheda United, who eased their relegation worries by beating Finn Harps on Friday. Sean Roughan’s red card in the 3-1 victory rules the defender out through suspension while loanee Darragh Nugent is not permitted to face his parent club Rovers.

Bradley was able to attend Friday’s game after his own side coasted past UCD 24 hours earlier.

“We saw with the three goals Drogheda scored that they have some good players in the attacking part of the pitch,” said the Rovers boss, whose main defender Pico Lopes will miss out by serving a one-match ban.

In Monday’s other games, Shelbourne are aiming for a third victory on the spin when they welcome UCD to Tolka Park. Their latest victims, St Patrick’s Athletic, are at risk of descending to a slump and face Dublin rivals Bohemians. Finn Harps and Dundalk clash in Ballybofey.

Monday’s LOI Premier Division fixtures: 

Drogheda United v Shamrock Rovers, Head in the Game Park (7.45pm)

Shelbourne v UCD, Tolka Park (7.45pm)

Sligo Rovers v Derry City The Showgrounds (7.45pm)

St. Patrick's Athletic v Bohemians, Richmond Park (7.45pm)

Finn Harps v Dundalk, Finn Park (8pm)

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