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Drogheda aim to go top of table of SSE Airtricity Premier Division against struggling Sligo

Updated: Monday, 07 Apr 2014 11:05 | Comments

Drogheda can move top of the league tonight
Drogheda can move top of the league tonight

Drogheda United have the opportunity to go to the top of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division tonight when they travel to The Showgrounds to face an under-pressure Sligo Rovers.

Robbie Horgan’s side are away to Sligo in a repeat of last season’s FAI Ford Cup final and are unbeaten in their five league games to date.

Sligo have lost their last four league games and are second from bottom in what has been a disastrous start to their league season.

Michéal Schlingermann and Paul Crowley are the only definite absentees for United.

Both are doing light fitness work and are likely to return to full duties in a fortnight.

Cathal Brady will be assessed ahead of the game.

Rovers' Danny North will have a precautionary x-ray on a foot injury on Monday to ensure his injury is just bruising.

Seamus Conneely has a groin problem. Both players are set to miss the game.

Gavin Peers (knee) and Raffaele Cretaro (calf) are also ruled out.

Kieran Djilali returns to the squad.

Drogheda boss Robbie Horgan wants his players to expose the weaknesses currently being shown by Bit o’ Red.

He said: "We are looking forward to our trip to the west and clearly we are going with the intention of winning. Sligo are hurting at the moment and have been chopping and changing their shape.

"I'm not sure why this is, whether due to injuries or suspensions or for another reason, but I expect they will play 4-3-3 on Monday. The pressure is on them and we've just got to expose that.

"With the Limerick v Cork game being postponed, we have a great chance to go top of the table and that's something that will focus the players.

"Sligo are very strong on set pieces, especially with Joseph N'do, and we have to be prepared for that and defend accordingly."

For Sligo manager Ian Baraclough, he wants his side to get back to basics.

Baraclough said: "We have to start picking up points. It’s a home game and three points will be our target as always in The Showgrounds.

"We’ll want to keep a clean sheet first and foremost – we’ve been punished for making mistakes in the last couple of games and it sounds obvious but it’s where we want to start.

"Turning our chances into goals and being that bit more clinical – Derry’s goal on Friday was a prime example in having that attempt from distance and reaping the rewards.

"We are getting into positions, we are being denied by some outstanding goalkeeping but with more attempts at goal and persistence it will come.

"We will ask for everything from the players like in every game and we also need as much backing for the supporters as possible on Monday night."

Derry City, who picked up their first win of the season last Friday night against Sligo Rovers, will look to make it back-to-back victories when they travel to Oriel Park to face a Dundalk side who had an emphatic 4-1 win over champions St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park last time out.

John Mountney and Darren Meenan are doubtful for the in-form Lilywhites.

Barry Molloy, Ryan McBride and Patrick McEleney are pushing places in the starting line-up for Derry, but David Elebert and Roddy Collins Junior are doubtful after they picked up knocks during Friday night's win over Sligo.

Collins has criticised the Oriel Park surface, but said that will not be an excuse for his players.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "It's the worst pitch in the world, not even in Ireland, but the world, but we won't be even mentioning it because at the end of the day we are going to have to play on it.

"Look, at the end of the day we know what we have to do, we aren't conceding a lot of goals. We have conceded from a few set-pieces so we are really, really tight at the back.

"I said before Friday night's game if we could get four points from our next two games it would be brilliant, if we got six it would be absolute tops, so if we come home with one I wouldn't be unhappy."

St Patrick's Athletic, who are currently eighth, visit the Carlisle Grounds to face ninth place Bray Wanderers.

The Saints will be without Rene Gilmartin with a hamstring injury, while Buckley will assess the fitness of Ken Oman who continues to  recover from a groin strain.

Midfield duo Greg Bolger and Killian Brennan will miss out on the game due to their sending-offs last Friday.

Bray will be without five players. The latest injury came on Friday night when Jake Kelly was carried off at Dalymount Park after 20 minutes following a collision with Bohemians goalkeeper Dean Delaney in the 1-1 draw.

Kelly was taken to the Mater Hospital and put in a cast. He will see an orthopaedic surgeon on Monday to access what looked like a serious ankle injury.

Captain Danny O'Connor will be missing (groin) along with Eric McGill (hamstring) and Adam Hanlon (knee).

Shane Redmond will miss his second game following his sending off against UCD. Stephen McGuinness is expected to deputise.

Shamrock Rovers, who were knocked off the top on Friday by Cork City, will be looking to bounce back at home to UCD at Tallaght Stadium.

Shane Robinson is unlikely to make the game due to a bruised foot, while David O’Connor remains out of action with an ankle ligament injury.

After taking a bad knock to his knee on Friday night, UCD will be without their influential winger Ayman Ben Mohamed.

And Athlone Town go in search of their first points of the season when Bohemians visit tonight.

Town have lost all five matches so far and face Owen Heary's men. 

Bohs rallied for a 1-1 draw with Bray Wanderers last Friday in Dalymount Park having played much of the game with 10 men. 

The fixture between Limerick and Cork City was postponed as the pitch at Thomond Park requires remedial work following Saturday’s rugby match between Munster and Toulouse. 

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