With leaders Dundalk and second-placed Cork City not in action tonight, Shamrock Rovers have a chance to leapfrog the Rebels when they host Drogheda United at Tallaght (8pm).
Neither side covered itself in glory last time out in the league, with struggling Drogheda going down 3-0 at home to Longford Town while Rovers were held 1-1 in Limerick. Yet, the Hoops, one point behind Cork in third, remain unbeaten in the Premier Division and Drogs boss Johnny McDonnell – who will be without the suspended Sean Thornton this evening – is under no illusions about the quality at Pat Fenlon’s disposal.
“They are a very good team all the way through,” he says. “Simon Madden is probably the best full-back in the league while Gavin Brennan and Sean O’Connor will give them quality delivery out wide that we need to deal with. I think it’s the best squad that Rovers have had for a few years and it will be a difficult challenge for us.”
In tonight’s other Premier Division game, Galway United, fresh from thumping Bray 5-0 in their first away win of the season, welcome St Patrick’s Athletic to Eamonn Deacy Park.
“The players are looking forward to the challenge of taking on one of the best footballing sides in the country,” says Galway boss Tommy Dunne. “After Saturday’s fantastic win against Bray Wanderers, there has been a real buzz and tempo in training this week. All of the lads were pleased with the win and now our attention turns to St Pats.”
The Tribesmen, however, have mounting injury problems for, as well as being without the services of Kilian Cantwell (knee), Jason Molloy (broken toe) and Andy O’Connell (ankle), manager Dunne was dealt further blows yesterday when Marc Ludden (knee) and Kevin Garcia (hamstring) picked up injuries in training.Top scorer Christy Fagan faces a late fitness test for Pats, with manager Liam Buckley looking to build on their 3-0 win against Sligo.
”I was happy with the result and performance, but we still have some things to improve on,” he says. “We need to now put together a consistent run of performances and hopefully we can do that in Galway.”
Meanwhile, in the SSE Airtricity First Division tonight, it’s Cabinteely v Finn Harps, Stradbrook; Waterford United v Wexford Youths, RSC; and Shelbourne v UCD, Tolka Park (8pm)
Matches kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise indicated.
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