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Cork and St Patrick's Athletic look to put pressure on SSE Airtricity League table toppers

Updated: Friday, 11 Jul 2014 11:40 | Comments

Bohs welcome St Patrick's Athletic to Dalymount
Bohs welcome St Patrick's Athletic to Dalymount

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Athlone Town v Limerick, Athlone Town Stadium, 7.45pm

Athlone Town welcome Limerick for a game where three points are vital as they attempt to close the gap on UCD, who are positioned just six points ahead of them in the table.

Town come in on the back of a 1-0 loss to Derry City but manager Keith Long has a full squad to pick from with the exception of long-term absentee Aidan Collins. 

Limerick interim boss Tommy Barrett says tonight’s game presents a “shop window” for the players to impress the incoming manager, following the departure of Stuart Taylor on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Scot left after a season-and-a-half in charge of the Shannonsiders, with the club’s Under-19 manager taking over for the trip to bottom side Athlone Town.

“It’s a very young team but it’s a shop window for the players. They all have to go out and do their best and try to impress the new manager coming in. I’m sure any managers that are interested will be watching it,” said Barrett.

Limerick have doubts over defenders Samuel Oji (shoulder), who took a heavy fall in last week’s game, Shaun Kelly (knee) and midfielder Shane Tracy (foot).  

Drogheda United v Cork City, United Park, 7.45pm

Drogheda United's Paul Andrews is suspended for the visit of Cork City.

United will also be without Ciaran McGuigan as the defender continues his recovery from a medial ligament injury.

Speaking ahead of the game, Darius Kierans said: “Cork have been outstanding this season. They have been a good team for the last number of years but have really kicked on under John Caulfield and are second in the league on merit.

"It’s going to be a tough game but the onus will be on Cork to come up here and win the game so we will use that to our advantage.”

Last weekend’s 0-0 draw away to Sligo Rovers brought a run of six consecutive league wins to an end, but saw City move level on points with league leaders Dundalk.

City boss John Caulfield is expecting a tough game. He said: “Drogheda obviously had a terrible run of form, and have changed their manager. They went to Bray last week and claimed a 3-1 win, and a win like that will have given them a boost. It’s a very tight pitch up there and it will be a very difficult game for us, as every match is.”

Darren Murphy (shoulder) misses out with long-term absentee Michael Rafter, as well as Gearóid Morrissey and Dan Murray, who are both suspended.

Rob Lehane and Iarfhlaith Davoren are doubts. 

Bohemians v St Patrick's Athletic, Dalymount Park, 8pm

Bohemians welcome the league champions to Dalymount for a televised match (Setanta Ireland) following three wins in four competitive games.

Those wins all came on the road but manager Owen Heary is confident his side’s home form will improve.

He said: “Against Athlone here it was only a missed penalty between us and a win. We beat Pat’s here in the EA Cup and they had a decent team out that night.

“So, we know we’re capable of beating them, and we know we’ve just been a bit unlucky in terms of winning games in Dalymount.”

The manager will reshuffle his midfield this week with captain Dave Mulcahy’s return from hamstring injury. Defender Aidan Price also comes back from ankle injury but left-back Jack Memery will have a late fitness test for a knock to the knee.

Speaking before the game, Saints boss Liam Buckley admitted his side were looking forward to the game and keen to get back playing following their defeat to Shamrock Rovers last weekend.

Buckley said: “We were disappointed with last week’s result but the players have worked hard all week and we’ll be looking to put things right and get a result. Owen Heary will have Bohs set-up very well so look it, it’ll be a tough game.”

Buckley confirmed that both Sean Hoare (ankle) and Killian Brennan (knock) are doubts for the game and will face fitness tests before the game, while Keith Fahey misses out through suspension.

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