SHAMROCK ROVERS, two points clear at the top of the Airtricity Premier Division, bid to return to winning ways when they face Bohemians in the Dublin derby at Tallaght Stadium tonight (8.05pm, Setanta Ireland).
Manager Michael O’Neill hopes his side can bounce back from a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Thursday. Ronan Finn is available after injury but fellow midfielder Stephen Rice is ruled out with a one match ban. Bohemians, one of five clubs in joint third and just three points behind Rovers, will be without both veteran Ollie Cahill and Mark Rossiter, both ruled out by hamstring injuries.
“We go with hope — that’s what it is all about. We have never beaten Rovers at Tallaght and we would like to do it for a first time,” said Bohemians boss Pat Fenlon.
“There will be a number of young amateur players in the squad.
When the sides met earlier in the season at Dalymount Park, it was a last minute goal by Finn that secured Rovers a point in a 1-1 draw. It promises to be another close encounter.
Second placed Sligo Rovers, two points behind Shamrocks, will be hoping to bounce back after their 2-1 defeat by St. Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Thursday when they play host to Dundalk at the Showgrounds.
Sligo boss Paul Cook: “We didn’t play well against St.Pat’s but have to get on with it. This has been a funny league. We beat Bray a couple of weeks ago and did so without breaking sweat. Now they have gone on to draw away to Derry and then beat Shamrock Rovers at home.
Dundalk will be without suspended striker Danny Kearns — otherwise manager Ian Foster will select from the side that defeated Derry City 1-0 at Oriel Park on Thursday.
Derry are hot favourites to overcome bottom of the table Galway United when the Connacht side make the long journey to the Brandywell. Galway boss Sean Connor will be forced into making at least one change from the side that lost 2-1 at home to Drogheda United on Thursday with Rory Gartland suspended.
UCD will be without central defender Michael Leahy when they host to improving St. Patrick’s Athletic at the Belfield Bowl. St. Pat’s will be unchanged after making it seven matches in a row unbeaten with that win over Sligo.
Drogheda Utd aim to build on Thursday’s win over Galway — their first in 15 league games — when Bray Wanderers are the visitors to the County Louth venue.
Bray boss Pat Devlin said: “We deserved out 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers on Thursday — but there are no easy games in this league. It is all very even and we are still in seventh place in the league despite being only three points behind leaders Rovers.
The Seagulls will be without injured winger Jake Kelly and there are late fitness tests for strikers Chris Shields and John Mulroy as well as skipper Gary Dempsey.
Conor Murphy will not return in time from Poland where he was on Irish U-19 international duty.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved