Derry City v St Patrick's Athletic, 7.05pm
Derry City will bid to end a five-game winless streak in the league when they host unbeaten St Patrick’s Athletic in a game that's live on RTÉ Two and online at RTÉ.ie/sport.
The Candystripes are unbeaten in their last nine fixtures against the Saints in all competitions. St Pat’s last league win at Derry was in June 2008.
Derry’s Patrick McEleney is suspended while Stewart Greacen (knee), Kevin Deery (knee) and Mark Farren (hamstring) are set to miss out. Rory Patterson, Stephen McLaughlin and Shane McEleney could feature after returning to training.
Having drawn four of five away games in the league to date, Pat's will be hoping to end that run with a win at the Brandywell. Midfielder James Chambers (knee) is likely to be on the sidelines for six to eight weeks, while Stephen O’Flynn still has a slight thigh strain.
Saints manager Liam Buckley expects a stern test.
He said: "Derry are in fine form lately and the work that Declan Devine has done there to date has been tremendous," he said.
"To make the Setanta Cup Final in his first season in charge is a great achievement, especially given the tough games they had to get there against Linfield and Shamrock Rovers."
Bray Wanderers v Bohemians, 7.45pm
Bray Wanderers will pick from the same squad which travelled to Monaghan last week for the visit of Bohemians to the Carlisle Grounds.
The only absentees for the Seagulls are long-term injury victims Shane O'Connor (groin) and Stephen Brennan (hamstring).
Looking ahead to Bohemians arriving at the Carlisle Grounds Bray's Director of Football Pat Devlin said: "I'll be looking for a similar performance from the lads against Bohs,it won't be easy but we will give it our best shot."
Bohemians manager Ian Callaghan has been ringing the changes in team selection, hardly repeating starting line-ups from one week to the next, and on Friday he will be forced to make yet more changes.
“We wanted to give younger players a chance to build their confidence through the EA Sports Cup and Leinster Senior Cup. Unfortunately, we didn’t go as far in those competitions as we would have liked. Now we need them in the league.”
Captain Owen Heary (hip injury against Dundalk) may not be fit, while goalkeeper Andy McNulty, Dave Mulcahy and Danny Joyce are out with flu. Striker Dave Scully is away at a family wedding.
However, midfielder Karl Moore returns from a shoulder injury he received in the Monaghan game.
With McNulty set to miss the game against his old club, Craig Sexton (20) may return to league action after nearly two months on the bench. He does so at the Carlisle Grounds, where he was thrown into the fray at the start of last season when top-two goalkeepers Barry Murphy and Chris O’Connor were injured.
Cork City v Dundalk, 7.45pm
Having claimed their first away win of the season last Friday against Shelbourne, Cork City will be looking to claim back-to-back wins for the first time in 2012 as they face Dundalk at Turners Cross.
Jamie Murphy is ruled out with an ankle injury, while Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan all remain sidelined with knee injuries.
Dunne also has doubts over the availability of John Dunleavy (knee), Shane Duggan (thigh), Shane O'Connor (foot) and Tadhg Purcell (flu).
Manager Tommy Dunne is expecting a tough test. "Dundalk have had a similar start to ourselves, with some good results and some not so good results so far this season. Although they lost last week, any team that goes to the Brandywell and claims a win has to be respected," he said.
Sean McCaffrey’s Lilywhites had an impressive win in Derry on their last road trip but produced a flat performance last time out, losing 2-0 to Bohemians at home.
Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers, 7.45pm
Two of the Premier Division’s form teams meet in a clash at Hunky Dorys Park that could prove an indicator of both side’s ambitions for the rest of the campaign.
United haven’t lost since the opening day of the season while Sligo remain unbeaten. Both sides were held to draws last time out.
Drogheda's Gavin Brennan has a slight worry over a groin strain while Paul Crowley will be assesed ahead of the game.
Despite their good form, Drogs boss Mick Cooke still thinks his side will have their work cut out against Sligo.
"It's going to be tough on Friday night for a number of reasons, for one we are facing Sligo Rovers and also, if we get three points we could potentially be top of the table," he said.
"That brings a whole new pressure with it. But I think we have proved to people we are playing with intent. Everyone is waiting for us to fall and it's just not happening."
Sligo have injury concerns about some key players ahead of the clash. Jason McGuinness, Alan Keane and Joseph Ndo are injury doubts.
McGuinness has a back problem that he picked up in training this week and Keane is struggling with a knee complaint, while Ndo has a hamstring injury that forced him out of last week’s 1-1 draw with St Patrick’s Athletic.
Manager Ian Baraclough said: “It’s a tough game for us. They have been strong and we are under no illusions.
“We have to be right. Our away form has been good and maybe it gives us more freedom when you go away from home. I expect a physical match and I expect us to be up to it."
Shamrock Rovers v UCD, 8.00pm
Shamrock Rovers will be looking to get back to winning ways in the league when they take on UCD in the Airtricity League, Premier Division on Friday night.
Ciaran Kilduff is having an operation on his foot today (Thursday) and remains out for the Hoops. Ken Oman has also been ruled out with a hamstring injury. Killian Brennan has a slight calf problem and will be assessed before the game.
Stephen O’Donnell has resumed training and while he won’t make Friday’s game but he is expected to return for Monday’s Leinster Senior League clash with St Patrick’s Athletic. Kerrea Gilbert is back in contention after his recent lay-off.
Rovers are also boosted by the news that Ronan Finn has committed his future to the Tallaght club by signing a contract that will run through until 2014.
UCD struggled to get a result against the Hoops last season and are looking to secure their first win in five league games.
The Students will continue without injured trio Ger Barron (toe), Chris Mulhall (groin) and Tomas Boyle (back).
UCD manager Martin Russell said: "This fixture represents what is great about Irish football. A top club, well run, in a great stadium against a club that is devoted to developing young Irish players in the right manner. I am really looking forward to the game."
Shelbourne v Monaghan, 8.00pm
Two of the Premier Division’s newly-promoted clubs clash at Tolka Park with Shelbourne looking to get back to winning ways after defeats in their last two games.
Monaghan secured their first win of the campaign when they beat Bohemians on their last visit to Dublin and they beat Shels on two visits to Tolka Park in the First Division last season.
Shelbourne continue without long-term injury victims Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley while Kevin Dawson is available having passed a fitness test on Wednesday night. Stephen Paisley returns following last week’s suspension
Monaghan United keeper Chris Bennion is s suspended and so is Keith Quinn. Garreth O’ Connor is injured and Paul Whelan is doubtful.
Monaghan manager Roddy Collins is hoping to get a response from his players after losing 1-0 to Bray Wanderers last time out: "I was extremely disappointed with both the result and overall performances against Bray Wanderers," he said.
"This week we are in Tolka Park, a venue that I like going to. It was a very successful ground for me as a manager and continued right up to last season when we won both games there. Shelbourne have done well since promotion to the Premier."