Shamrock Rovers face what is likely to be a defining game in their attempt to retain the Airtricity Premier Division when leaders Sligo Rovers visit Tallaght Stadium tonight (8pm).
The Hoops have won back-to-back titles but trail the Bit o’ Red by seven points in the table, with Ian Baraclough’s side also having a game in hand on the champions.
It has been a poor campaign for Stephen Kenny and his players but having recorded three wins on the bounce, including two in the league, they face Sligo knowing the can breathe new life into their season with victory.
Sligo recorded a comprehensive 3-0 success in the first meeting of the sides and a similar outcome would surely put an end to any hopes of the title staying in Tallaght.
The Connacht side has looked the more complete outfit throughout the year, without being overly convincing, and it sets up tonight’s game to have a major say on the season with Drogheda United and St Patrick’s Athletic also firmly in the chase.
Aaron Greene (knee) and Graham Gartland (back) are out for the Hoops.
Pat Sullivan (ankle) and Chris Turner (thigh) will both do fitness tests before the game after picking up injuries in last week’s 2-0 win over UCD.
Sligo have recorded four wins on the bounce against Shamrock Rovers in all competitions, including their first ever win in Tallaght last campaign.
But they will be without David Cawley, who is suspended, while Danny North is out for the rest of the campaign with a cruciate ligament injury. Kick-off is 8pm in Tallaght Stadium.
What the managers say:
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny: "We won our last two league games, and have kept three clean sheets in a row in the league, and we will be looking to keep that going tomorrow night.
"The lads have worked very hard during the week and know that a win tomorrow night would be very important for our season. It is a big game, and we will go into the game fully focused on getting the win.
"We know it will be a tough game, but we are more than ready for that."
Sligo Rovers manager Ian Barraclough: "We’re setting out with a positive mindset. We’re going to there to win the game and that is the only approach we take. Whatever the result is, I don’t think anything is decided with 11 games to go in the season so this is just another game for us to try and win.
"Our only thought is trying to win the game, we are going into the lion’s den as such and I think that given the result earlier in the season we’ll face a side that might still be hurting from that. I’m sure Stephen Kenny will remind his players of that defeat and they are coming into this game in improved form.
"I know people have been surprised that they have not picked up as many points as expected this year, but they have excellent players and they have had some good wins recently.
"If we play to our maximum then we will rise to the task. We’ve shown that before and I’ll name a team on Monday where we’ll have some disappointed players because everyone wants to be involved at this stage of the year.
"It is the type of game we really look forward to and everyone is fit bar our top scorer Danny North. That is a wonderful situation for me and our preparation has been very good this week."