Struggling Dundalk will aim to close the gap at the bottom of the table when they welcome Shelbourne to Oriel Park, kick-off 7.45pm.

The Lilywhites are now seven points adrift of Bray and UCD at the base of the table and are running out of games as they aim to avoid the relegation play-off.

Tonight’s fixture could be a potential FAI Ford Cup final as both sides avoided each other in the semi-final draw last Monday.

Both of these sides have played nine league games since last they met in Tolka Park in July, a fixture that Shelbourne won 4-0.

Dundalk have not won in the league since May 21 but they have managed to win three games in the FAI Ford Cup and reach the semi-finals.

Shelbourne’s Anto Murphy is suspended due to his red carded against St Patrick’s Athletic, while there are doubts about the fitness of Philly Hughes and Philly Gorman, with groin and hip injuries respectively.

Dundalk striker Barry Conolon twisted a knee in training and is a doubt, while Gareth Brady’s ankle injury is set to keep him on the sidelines for another fortnight.

Shelbourne boss Alan Mathews said: “We will go into Friday’s game well prepared as we do for each game. There are still 15 league points to be won and we want to get as many of them as possible to push up the table.

“We have the players to do so. I can’t complain about the efforts they have put in thoughout the season. This will be another tough assignment, as there are no easy games in the league and we’ll be pushing for the three points.”

Dundalk manager Darius Kierans said: “To say that we should be preparing for the play-offs is nonsense.

“There’s no way we are giving up. Bray are seven points ahead of us, we have a game in hand and we still have to play them.

“We have to get a win on Friday and if we keep performing the way we have been, we have a chance.”