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Friday's Airtricity League previews

Updated: Friday, 02 Aug 2013 09:37 | Comments

Ronan Finn is suspended for a must-win match for Shamrock Rovers
Ronan Finn is suspended for a must-win match for Shamrock Rovers

The Airtricity League Premier Division title race heats up as the final series of matches begins tonight.

Six points separate the top four clubs and four of the top five clubs meet each other on Friday evening.

At the bottom, things are just as tight with just one point separating the bottom four clubs who all play each other over the weekend.

Bohemians v UCD, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Just one point separates these two sides so this is a crucial game for both Owen Heary and Martin Russell as they bid to steer their sides out of the relegation zone.

UCD have picked up just five points out of the last 21 available while Bohs have only managed one win in their last 12 games.

The sides have met four times this season in all competitions and honours are even at two wins apiece.

Bohs have Derek Pender, Luke Byrne and Dave Mulcahy available after suspension but Muclahy is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Ryan McEvoy (ankle) and Chris Lyons (bruised ribs) are likely to miss out but Shane Murray (ankle) has recovered.

UCD have James Kavanagh and Mark Langtry suspended wile Robbie Creevy is doubtful.

Derry City v Sligo Rovers, Brandywell Stadium, 7.45pm

It four years since Derry City last beat Sligo Rovers with the Bit O’Red winning eight of the last ten league games between the sides including the two meetings this season.

A win would put Derry five points clear of last season’s champions and strengthen their title ambitions while Sligo need a win to avoid being possibly nine points behind the leaders if St Pat’s beat Drogheda.

Derry’s only doubt is Stewart Greacen (knee) while Sligo’s Ross Gaynor (knee ligaments) is ruled out for the next four weeks and Danny Ventre is not yet match fit despite a return to training.

Aaron Greene (toe) is still sidelined but Pascal Millien is available after international duty.

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers, Oriel Park, 7.45pm

Having drawn 12 of their 22 games so far this season, Shamrock Rovers cannot afford to drop any more points if they want to close the ten point gap between them and leaders St Patrick’s Athletic before the end of the season.

They head to Oriel Park unbeaten in the four meetings between the sides in all competitions this season and having won the last three after a scoreless draw on the opening day of the season. Indeed, Rovers have only lost three of the last 25 meetings between the sides and Dundalk haven’t registered a win over the Hoops since a 5-1 win on September 13, 2010.

Of the 13 competitive games since then, Rovers have won nine with four drawn.

John Mountney (ankle) and Dane Massey (knee) are both doubtful for Dundalk while Hoops’ David Elbert and Mark Quigley are out of the game with calf injuries and Tommy Stewart (dead leg) is a doubt. Ronan Finn is suspended.

Limerick v Cork City, Thomond Park, 7.45pm

Limerick hold the edge going into the third Munster derby of the season.

They lead Cork City by two points and have taken four points from the two games already played between the sides this season.

Limerick have Stephen Folan available again after suspension but Stephen McGann and Pat Purcell are still out injured and there is a doubt over Shane Tracy.

New signings Carel Tiofack and Jason Hughes could also feature at some stage.

Colin Healy (knee), John Dunleavy (knee) and Stephen Kenny (hamstring) are all doubts, while John Kavanagh, Darren Dennehy (foot), Kevin Burns (arm) and Kevin Murray (groin) are definitely out.

Kalen Spillane will also miss out, as he begins a three match suspension following his sending off against St. Pat’s last week.

Cork have also signed former Limerick goalkeeper David Ryan from St Pat’s.

St. Patrick's Athletic v Drogheda United, Richmond Park, 7.45pm

Liam Buckley’s side start the run for home looking to secure their third win of the season against the Boynesiders although both the earlier games were close with Pats winning 1-0 in Richmond and 2-1 in Drogheda.

Three Saints players are line for significant milestones if they play with Ian Bermingham is in line to make his 100th league appearance, Ger O’Brien poised for his 50th league game for Pat’s and Jake Kelly on the cusp of his 50th all-time appearance for Pats.

Shane McFaul (groin) is doubt for the home side but new signing Daryl Kavanagh is added to the squad.

Drogheda’s Alan McNally is fit for the trip but Eric Foley (hernia) is still out.

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