UCD will be hoping to claw themselves off the bottom of the Airticity League Premier Division when they welcome Derry City to the UCD Bowl on Friday night, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Students were afforded a week off last week as it was their turn to face Monaghan United, who recently withdrew from the league.
There have also been question marks over Dundalk’s future, and it will be Lilywhites who the Students leapfrog should they collect all three points at Belfield.
UCD would already have been in a better position had they beaten Dundalk in their last league outing; a match manager Martin Russell believes they should have won.
“Our last game out against Dundalk was disappointing in so far as we probably deserved to get more out of the game,” Russell said.
“I was very happy with our level of play and felt we really should have got something more than a point from the game.
“The difference between losing and drawing, and drawing and winning is so slight that we really need to start taking our chances.”
Fifth-placed Derry have failed to register a win in their last three league games, but Russell is wary of the Candystripes after their 3-0 reverse at home to Drogheda United last week.
“Derry will be looking to bounce back from their recent defeat and we need to be ready for this,” the Students’ boss said.
“Games against Derry in the last couple of years have been very enjoyable games, and hopefully the same will apply on Friday with us getting the result we crave.”
Derry have yet to find their feet after the mid-season break, and manager Declan Devine is hoping a solid defensive display can get his charges heading back towards the top end of the table
“After a bad restart to the league campaign since the summer break, we would be happy just to keep a clean sheet at the minute,” Devine said.
“We need to keep our minds focused and cut out the silly mistakes that we have been making of late. The lads know that we need to be more ruthless in front of goal as well as at the back.”
The Foylesiders make the trip to the capital without the services of Kevin Deery (knee) and Brian McGroary (ankle). The Brandywell outfit are being inundated with hamstring problems at the moment as well, with Mark Farren, Stewart Greacen and Rory Patterson all ruled out with that particular ailment.
The hosts will also be far from full strength. Striker Graham Rusk has yet to shake his knee complaint, while Ger Barron is still sidelined with a toe problem. Mark Langtry is ruled out due to college commitments.
They are also sweating on the availability of Chris Mulhall and David O’Connor.