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Friday's Airtricity League team news

Updated: Friday, 19 Oct 2012 13:38 | Comments

Sligo Rovers target a hat-trick of wins this season over Drogheda Gary Twigg bids farewell to Tallaght Stadium tonight as Shamrock Rovers entertain UCD
Sligo Rovers target a hat-trick of wins this season over Drogheda Gary Twigg bids farewell to Tallaght Stadium tonight as Shamrock Rovers entertain UCD

FRIDAY 19 OCTOBER

Bray Wanderers v Bohemians, 7.45

Cork City v Dundalk, 7.45

Derry City v St Pat's Athletic, 7.45

Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers, 7.45 - Live on RTÉ

Shamrock Rovers v UCD, 8.00pm

Bray Wanderers v Bohemians

Bray central defender Adam Mitchell is suspended for the final home league game of the season. He serves a ban following his sending off against Shamrock Rovers.

Also missing will be defender Dane Massey who is also serving a ban having reached four penalty points.However John Mulroy and Shane O'Connor who both missed Bray's last game through injury are available for selection as they return to the squad.

Speaking following the defeat to the Hoops, Bray's director of football Pat Devlin said he felt his side were unlucky. He explained: "We just didn't take our chances".

Looking ahead to Friday Devlin added: "Bray and Bohemians have a great tradition and games between us are always interesting.

"Aaron Callaghan has done a good job since he came in and they will be difficult to beat, he added both sides will be keen to finish on a high note."

For Bohemians, defender Kevin Feely returns from suspension. Adam Martin (ankle) is out with injury and Dave Scully (ankle) is unlikely to make it back. Derek Pender (ankle) and Evan McMillan (knee) face late fitness tests but are expected to be available.

The Gypsies manager is expecting a tight game in Bray. He said: “They have caused teams problems. We played really well the last time over there but we still lost the game to a couple of set pieces.

“We need to make sure that our concentration levels are high. There’s no reason why we can’t win the game if we can raise those levels.

“We’re certainly going there to get a win.”

Cork City v Dundalk

For Cork, Garry Buckley will remain sidelined with a knee injury that looks set to keep him out of action for a number of weeks, while Brian Lenihan suffered a back injury on international duty with the Republic of Ireland U-19 side, and will also miss out.

Looking ahead to the game, City boss Tommy Dunne said: “It is another big game for us, and it has become even more important due to the result we had the other night in Tolka Park.

"If we had picked up a win against Shelbourne, then we would have come into this game hoping that a win would secure fifth place, but now we have to win and see where things stand after that.

"Being in a position where we need to win the game is probably not a bad thing, as I think we are at our best when we have to go out and win a game. It is hugely important for us to finish as high up the table as we can.”

“Dundalk have enough about them to cause problems for any team. They have some good young players, mixed with some experience in the side, so they will be difficult opponents for us.

"On our day we have proved that we are a match for any team in the division, we just need to make sure that we play to our potential over the course of the full game.”

"On our day we have proved that we are a match for any team in the division.” - Tommy Dunne

For Dundalk, centre-half Derek Foran (groin), top scorer Gary Shanahan (ankle), the versatile Paul Walsh (groin), central midfielder John Mountney (appendix) and left-back Eoghan Osborne (suspension) all miss out.

Added to that, striker Mark Griffin (ear infection), experienced central defender Liam Burns (calf), central midfield pair Stephen McDonnell and Mark O’Brien (both flu), and forward duo William Woods (back) and Bob McKenna (shin splints) are all doubtful.

Young midfielder Garreth Brady (ankle) returned to training this week.

But while his team are decimated by injury, suspension and illness, manager Darius Kierans sees the game as another good opportunity for his young guns to impress, after 17-year-old midfielder Conor McDonald shone with a ‘Man of the Match’ performance against Bohemians last Saturday.

18-year-old McKenna also netted a late equaliser having entered as a substitute just minutes earlier, with the Skerries native – prolific in the club’s underage teams over the past 15 months – grabbing his first league goal.

“We’re missing a lot of players but some of our younger players came in last week and did well, and Friday night is an opportunity for them to do so again,” Kierans said.

“Everything is focussed towards the playoff now for us but you go into every game looking for a positive result and hopefully we can build on last week’s draw against Bohemians. That was a game I felt we should have won.

“There were a lot of positives to take out of that performance, with a very young team. Conor McDonald was excellent, Bob McKenna came on and scored, Peter Thomas came in and did quite well at centre-half, and William Woods did very well too.

“Cork are a very good side and Turner’s Cross is always a difficult place to go, but it will be a good experience for our younger players.

“Our main focus now is the playoff and making sure we have our best team available for that, but we’ll go to Cork and look to follow on from last week’s result.”

Derry City v St Pat's Athletic

Derry City will go into this game without the services of Rory Patterson who is suspended while Mark Farren will face a late fitness test on a hip flexor problem.

Commenting on Derry's last league game of the season, manager Declan Devine said: "

"I think we have to take each game on its merit. I want us to continue our momentum and we are looking forward to the match.

"I want us to continue our momentum and we are looking forward to the match." - Declan Devine

"We want to get three points, we want to finish off our league campaign with a positive result, but in my opinion it has no bearing on what the cup final is going to be about. But at the same time we want to finish off with a decent performance."

Pat's are without the services of Sean O’Connor through suspension and Stephen O’Flynn with an achilles injury, while Mark Rossiter will sit out the game as continues his recovery from a knee injury.

The ranks are boosted, however, by the return of Ryan Coombes following his impressive spell with the Ireland U19s, while Jake Kelly could also return having missed last week’s game in Sligo with an ankle injury.

Boss Liam Buckley wants a result on Friday to wrap up qualification for the Europa League. "

"We have two games left this season and we want to finish second so we’ll be looking for two more results to secure that place, starting firstly with Derry on Friday.

"We can guarantee our place in Europe for next season with a draw in the Brandywell, but we haven’t gone out to play for a draw this season to date, and we won’t intend to start doing that on Friday.

"We had a tough game in Derry earlier in the season, and it’ll be no different this time round but hopefully we can get a result."

Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers

Ryan Brennan and Eric Foley are available for selection for Drogs after serving their suspensions. Gavin Brennan and Paul Crowley are both suspended while Derek Prendergast is a doubt with a virus.

Manager Mick Cooke wants his side to respond positively to last week's defeat against UCD. "It should be a great atmosphere, it's always good when the champions come to town and Sligo are deserving champions.

"That said we will still be going out there to try and get three points, we always seem to bounce back well after a defeat.

"We need two more points to guarantee a Europa League place next season and hopefully we can do that with three tomorrow night. We will still be trying to finish as high as possible before the season ends."

Sligo will have to cope without the suspended Danny Ventre after a red card in the match with the St Pat's last week that saw them claim the title. Iarfhlaith Davoren, Danny North and Alan Keane are long-term injury victims.

There are a number of injury doubts following last week’s game but it is expected that there are no other absentees with final assessments to take place on Friday prior to the game.

Speaking ahead of the game, manager Ian Baraclough said: "The suspension is a blow to Danny because he would like to play in the final matches but there is the big consolation that he will lift the trophy next week.

"We have some injury concerns but there is a strong squad ready to be called upon at any time. Every player is still itching for action so we travel to Drogheda with options.

"We’ve trained during the week, re-focused the minds and there are plenty of reasons why we’re determined to get a result on Friday night.

"I want to remain unbeaten in the matches because one defeat in a season would be a great record.

"We’re proud of what we have achieved this season and of a significant advantage when winning the title.

"That is something we want to keep and build on if possible. The supporters will travel in big numbers and they will rightfully be expecting a performance.

"You hope that some of the tension that has come in the last few matches will be gone and the players can play with more freedom but not too lose much of it.

"We have to maintain the intensity that got us to where we are and Drogheda will be hoping they can catch us on the hop after the emotion of the last week."

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

Gary Twigg will play last home game for the Hoops and the Rovers fans are planning a big send-off for the Scottish native who has scored 84 competitive goals in his four seasons with the club.

The Hoops have a number of injury concerns with Ciaran Kilduff (throat infection), Ronan Finn (ankle) and Colin Hawkins (strain) all doubts for the game.

Craig Sives has a knee problem and will do a fitness test before the match, while Killian Brennan (calf) has been ruled out of the game. On the plus side, Gary McCabe returns from suspension and Conor McCormack has recovered from his recent injury and returns to the squad.

Shamrock Rovers director of football, Brian Laws said: "It goes without saying that I will be looking for a response from the players after last week's very poor performance against Derry City. We will be mixing things up a bit in the team in order to spark a bit of life back into the side.

"While there is still an outside change of us catching third spot, we need to keep chasing that. It would be great to go into the last game with something to play for. It will also be Gary Twigg's last home game for the club and it would be good to send him off with a good performance and a win."

"It would be good to send him off with a good performance and a win" - Brians Laws

For the Students, goalkeeper John Kelly is an absentee with a groin injury while striker Graham Rusk is still struggling after a set back from his long term shin injury.

Striker Cillian Morrison is back training after an ankle injury but the game on Friday may come too soon for him to make his return.

Centre back David O’Connor is suspended after being sent off against Drogheda last week.

Manager Martin Russell has an otherwise fully fit squad to select from and is relishing the opportunity of facing the Hoops on their home patch. He said: "As always we are hoping that the lads can reach the best standards they can and finish the season as well as we can and there is no place to go better than Tallaght Stadium to try and test ourselves in regards to our development.”

“We know to expect a difficult game from a talented group of Rovers players and they will be hurt from last week’s defeat against Derry so we are expecting a backlash.”

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