SHAMROCK ROVERS can stretch their lead at the top of the Airtricity Premier Division table to six points in the Dublin derby game against fourth placed St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park tonight (8.05pm — live on Setanta Ireland).
Both sides are unbeaten in their last five league games and with second-placed Derry City not in action until they host bottom of the table Drogheda United at the Brandywell tomorrow night, it’s an ideal opportunity for the Hoops the break clear of the chasing pack.
Pat’s will again be without the injured Conor Kenna, Dave Mulcahy, James O’Brien and Shane McFaul, but Inchicore boss Pete Mahon is still confident of a positive outcome.
“There is a good mood in the camp after our recent run of victories. Rovers are also flying high and while we respect them, we have no fear of them,” said Mahon.
The Hoops will again be without the injured Gary Twigg and Stephen O’Donnell while defender Ken Oman serves a one match suspension after being sent off in last Friday’s 1-0 win at home to Sligo Rovers.
“It’s another tough game in quick succession — first Sligo on Friday and now away to St Pat’s. They had a good win away to Bray Wanderers, but we are determined to make it two positive results from these games,” said Rovers boss Michael O’Neill.
Third-placed Bohemians will be looking to pick up another vital three points when they play host to Dundalk at Dalymount Park. Manager Pat Fenlon may re-jig his starting line-up with Christy Fagan, Glenn Cronin and Barry Murphy all still injured and veteran winger Ollie Cahill facing a late fitness test.
It will be a nostalgic return to Dalymount for ex-Bohs men Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley who have scored nine league goals between them this season for Ian Foster’s side. Greg Bolger could return after injury but definitely ruled out are Eoghan Osborne and Stephen Maher.
After their record 7-0 thrashing by Derry City at the Brandywell on Friday, UCD boss Martin Russell is delighted to have another game so quickly when they host fellow strugglers Galway United at the Belfield Bowl (7.45 pm).
College will be without the injured Mick Leahy, Robbie Benson, Mark Langtry and Cillian Morrisson while Ciaran Nangle is suspended after his sending off against Derry.
“This game comes at the right time and a chance to make it nine points from our last four games would be a positive reaction,” said Russell.
Second from bottom Galway, who give winger Bobby Ryan a late fitness test, are still without the injured Gary Curran and Joseph Yoffe.
“Ourselves, UCD and Drogheda are in a mini-league of our own — so it is a vital game for both sides.
“It is huge learning curve for my young players, but I am still confident we will be in the Premier Division next season, ” said Galway boss Sean Connor.
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