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SSE Airtricity League: Top two do battle

Updated: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 10:08 | Comments

Cork City welcome Shamrock Rovers to Turner's Cross
Cork City welcome Shamrock Rovers to Turner's Cross

The SSE Airtricity Premier Division’s top two sides go head-to-head as leaders Shamrock Rovers travel to Turner’s Cross to take on Cork City.

Cork targetman Anthony Elding has an ankle injury and he is a major doubt, with a decision on his fitness likely to be made closer to the game, while Danny Morrissey and Michael Rafter are still sidelined with ankle injuries.

Shamrock Rovers boss Trevor Croly will be without David O’Connor but otherwise has a full squad to chose from.

Croly is expecting a raucous atmosphere from a game that may yet be a sell-out and said: "Our group are not long together and are going very well so far, so this will be a great test for them. There is sure to be a big crowd tomorrow night, and Cork are going well, so we’ll have to perform to the best of our abilities in the game."

Champions St Patrick’s Athletic host Dundalk as the League’s top two sides from last season clash in Richmond Park.

Saints’ boss Liam Buckley reports that both Rene Gilmartin and Ken Oman are doubts for Friday’s game which is live on RTÉ Two at 7:05pm.

Gilmartin sustained a hamstring injury in the Saints 2-0 defeat away to Sligo Rovers in the Setanta Sports Cup last week, while Oman picked up a groin strain in last week’s 0-0 draw with Derry City in the Brandywell.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has a near full squad to chose from with Mark Rossiter his only doubt with a hamstring strain.

Kenny is optimistic ahead of the game and said: “All the players are in good form. We’re on a good run. I feel the players are passing the ball really well and we’re enjoying our football. We are playing well but going to Inchicore is never easy.

“St Patrick’s Athletic are the champions and they’re a fantastic side but we’re confident and we with not playing 3 games this week, we had a good week to rest and prepare.”

Rovers’ Dublin rival Bohemians host Bray Wanderers and will be testing the full depth of their squad as they begin a series of three games in seven days.

Bohs made five changes for last weekend’s trip to Dundalk and are likely to make more alterations for each of the next three matches.

Dave Mulcahy (knee) came into the season carrying an injury but he has returned to light training. He is not expected to be ready for Friday but may well feature in one or both of next week’s matches. Andy Mulligan has returned from quad injury to full training, but Anto Murphy (hamstring) remains out.

Bray will have to plan once again without his captain Danny O'Connor who is still struggling with a groin injury, while Adam Hanlon is battling against a knee injury and could miss out yet again this week.

Shane O'Neill ,who made an appearance as a substitute last Friday following his groin injury, showed no ill effects and will be in the squad for Friday night.

On the down side goalkeeper Shane Redmond will serve a ban following his sending off last Friday.

Struggling Sligo Rovers will be hoping to give their season a kick-start when they take on Derry City at the Brandywell.

The Bit o’Red will be without Seamus Conneely who has a groin problem, while Danny North will have a late fitness test on a toe injury.

Gavin Peers (knee) and Raffaele Cretaro (calf) are absent but Danny Ledwith is back in the squad after overcoming a hamstring problem.

Derry manager Roddy Collins will have to plan for this encounter without Patrick McEleney and Barry Mc Namee, who are both unavailable.

There is better news elsewhere for the Candystripes as the FAI have now confirmed the registration of Jon-Paul McGovern and he is expected to take part in some way on Friday evening.

Drogheda United will be hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they host newly promoted Athlone Town.

The Drogs will be without both Michéal Schlingermann and Paul Crowley, with both players a couple of weeks away from a return to action.

Michael Daly and Stephen Maher will be assessed before the match and both could feature while frontman Phillip Hughes will return to the squad having served a three-match suspension.

Athlone manager Mick Cooke returns to United Park for the first time since he parted company with his former charges at Drogheda.

Cooke goes into this game a long injury list with Neil Harney, Aidan Collins, Barry Clancy and Sean Byrne all rated at less than just 50/50 to make the match day squad.

Athlone are hoping that newly signed defender Stephen Quigley will be registered in time to be available.

UCD travel to Limerick on the back of two consecutive victories and will be eager to extend that run.

The game will see new manager Aaron Callaghan finally be able to take charge of his side from the dugout for the first time since taking the reigns in UCD, after he completed a five game suspension last week against Bray Wanderers.

It will also see former Captain Mick Leahy return to the UCD Bowl with his new club Limerick FC, while only Ian Ryan (foot) is missing for the Students.

Limerick’s Scottish winger Danny Galbraith and centre-half Leahy – who has yet to make his debut for the club – are continuing their rehabilitation programmes, but striker Craig Curran and experienced left-back Robbie Williams are now back in contention.

Goalkeeper Barry Ryan has also fully recovered from his illness and has taken his place between the sticks for the last two games.

Elsewhere, the manager will continue to monitor the fitness of young defensive trio Tony Whitehead, Colm Murphy and Shane Costelloe.

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