AIDAN PRICE rejects the notion that the title is Shamrock Rovers’ to lose ahead of tonight’s top-of-the-table Dublin derby with St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.
Rovers, unbeaten in 16 games in the league, are seven points clear with eight games to play as they strive for a first title since 1994.
“I don’t look at it like that,” said the Rovers central defender, yesterday named as the Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month for August.
“Obviously when you look at us being seven points clear it’s what everybody else will say, but we don’t really look at it like that.
“We look at nights like last Friday when Pat’s were winning and we were drawing with Sligo. If it had stayed like that it would have made this a bigger game. They could have gone top if they beat us (tonight). We’re hoping to keep the gap what it is and hopefully extend it, if we can.”
Price returns from injury tonight, though full-back Pat Flynn completes a two-match suspension while midfielder Robert Bayly is rated as a serious doubt due to a knee injury. Pat Sullivan (knee) remains out.
Pat’s hope to have midfielder Dave Mulcahy fit after missing the last three games with a hamstring strain. But striker Paul Byrne is gone for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury while in-form winger Derek Doyle is suspended.
The top two playing each other offers champions Bohemians, level on points with St Pat’s in third place, the opportunity to make up ground when they host struggling UCD.
Apart from long-term injured left-back Steven Gray and winger Anto Murphy, manager Pat Fenlon has not injury concerns, though striker Paddy Madden may be rested having returned from Ireland under-21 duty in Turkey.
Midfielder Robbie Creevy, sent off in the 1-1 draw with Drogheda last week, is suspended for UCD, who’ve won once in 11 games. Central defender Andy Boyle remains out with a knee injury along with full-back Sean Harding and striker David McMillan.
Sligo Rovers wait for a fitness check on attacking midfielder Romuald Boco for their home clash with Sporting Fingal. Boco returned from international duty with Benin with a thigh injury. Winger Gary McCabe (hamstring) and midfielder John Dillon (back) are further doubts for Paul Cook’s side, who hope to end a run of 13 league matches without a win against any of the top four sides.
Sporting, two points ahead of Sligo, remain without Ger O’Brien (ankle) while midfielder anchor Shane McFaul must pass a fitness check on a foot injury if he’s to feature.
Galway United plan without the suspended pair Paul Sinnot and Rhys Meynell while Jamie McKenzie (shin) and midfielder Ciaran Foley (ankle) are injury concerns as they hope to stretch their five-match unbeaten run at bottom side Bray Wanderers.
Bray, just three points behind second bottom Drogheda with a game in hand, are without Shane O’Neill (shoulder), but have his strike partner John Mulroy back fit after he missed the wins over UCD and Dundalk.
Corie Treacy returns from suspension to the Drogheda defence ahead of the Louth derby with Dundalk at Hunky Dorys Park. Manager Brian Donnelly continues without long-term injured winger Brendan McGill, however, while defender Jamie Harris is also out injured and midfielder Paul Crowley is unavailable due to illness.
Freefalling Dundalk have taken just two points from their last eight matches, welcome Garry Breen back from illness. Alan Cawley remains out as he recuperates from back surgery.
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