FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER
BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC, 7.45
Bohemians continue their round of matches against teams above them in the league as they host St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount.
Ex-Sligo Rovers player Kevin Devaney, who made his debut as a second-half sub at The Showgrounds last Monday, is expected to be in the squad for Friday.
Garrett O’Connor, also signed recently, is unlikely to feature against St Pat's as he works on building his fitness.
Ryan McEvoy (ankle) and Owen Heary (back) are missing through injury and McNulty will face a late fitness test. Kevin Feely returns from his one-match suspension.
Speaking ahead of the game, boss Aaron Callaghan said: "I go into all matches thinking of them as tough games, whoever it’s against.
“But the games against the top-of-the-table teams are ones I really look forward to because I believe if we get our performance right we can give any team a game.”
Pat's are unbeaten in their last seven games against the Gypsies in all competitions.
The Saints’ forward options are soon to be bolstered as manager Liam Buckley confirmed that Dean Kelly and Stephen O’Flynn have returned to training following groin and rib problems respectively.
Darren Meenan returns from suspension for this derby clash, while Brazilian Hernany Macedo is available for selection after his registration was completed. Mark Rossiter however remains on the sidelines as he recovers from a knee injury.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com, the Saints’ manager commented on the challenge that Bohemians would present his side, noting that the two past games could have easily have gone in Aaron Callaghan’s side's favour.
"We’re really coming into the final stretch of games and there’s still a lot to play for so we’re all looking forward to the run-in.
"Bohs will be tricky opponents as they’ve shown in the previous two games this season.
"They got a great goal and led for most of the game against us in Richmond a few months back, so we know what they’re capable of.
"Aaron Callaghan will have his side well set-up so we’ll have to put in a good performance to win."
BRAY WANDERERS V DROGHEDA UNITED, 7.45
Defender Dave Webster will be absent from the Bray line-up for the clash with second placed Drogheda Utd at the Carlisle Grounds as he serves a one-match ban having reached four penalty points.
Also missing will be veteran striker Jason Byrne as he serves a suspension following his sending off against St Patrick's Ath. Otherwise the Seagulls have a full squad to pick from.
Speaking during the week, Bray's Director of Football Pat Devlin said he was disappointed his side failed to get something from last week's game against UCD.
Looking ahead to the visit of the Boynesiders he added that the squad were at finishing school during the week following the number of chances that went abegging against the Students.
Drogheda's Gavin Brennan serves the final game of his suspension while Alan McNally has recovered from injury but is suspended for the clash.
There is a doubt surrounding John Sullivan who picked up an ankle injury in the win over Dundalk.
Looking ahead to the game, boss Mick Cooke said: "We have re-captured the vibrancy we had at the start of the season. The win against Wexford was huge and then to come from two goals down in a local derby has really shown that we are back to our best.
We have had a few hiccups but we are back on form.
At the start of the season you always say, if you drop points, that you can make it up later on in the year. Well now we are in that later part and we can't afford to drop anything especially if we want to keep pace with Sligo Rovers and keep ahead of Shamrock Rovers and St Pat's.
No games from here on in are going to be easy, we've never had an easy game in Bray and Friday will be no exception, but we need to keep winning and that's all we can focus on doing.
DERRY CITY V CORK CITY, 7.45
Derry will go into this game without the services of Stewart Greacen who damaged his medial ligament during the loss to St Patrick's Athletic on Monday evening and will be sidelined for at least three weeks.
Speaking ahead of the game boss Declan Devine wants his team to react positively to the 3-0 loss to St Pat's last Monday. "I felt that fatigue against Pat's but we must pick ourselves up and not feel sorry for ourselves after such a loss.
We have a big week ahead of us with this game on Friday then Drogheda away on Monday and the Cup game against Mervue the Friday after. Having said that I have never known a game against Cork City to be an easy one so getting back to winning ways will not that easy."
For Cork, Brian Lenihan will miss the tie as he is on international dutywith the Republic of Ireland U-19 side, while winger Daryl Horgan is out through suspension.
John Dunleavy (ankle), Colin Healy (thigh strain), Cathal Lordan (knee) and Eoghan Murphy (ankle) are all absent, while defenders Dan Murray and Neal Horgan will also miss out.
Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy and Vinny Sullivan all return from suspension, after missing the defeat to Shamrock Rovers last week.
Manager Tommy Dunne told CorkCityFC.net that despite a lengthy injury list, his side will be aiming to pick up a result at the Brandywell: “Going to the Brandywell is always a long trip for us, but it is a good venue to play in.
"We need to pick up points there if we can, because it is at the point in the season where every point really matters. Although we are without a number of players, we still have aspirations of getting something from the game.”
“In the last number of weeks, with the exception of the UCD game, I think we have performed reasonably well. We need to be solid and make sure that we do not give anything away that will give us an uphill battle to get a result from the game.”
DUNDALK V UCD, 7.45
Dundalk will have to make do without top scorer Gary Shanahan as he serves a suspension for the accumulation of four yellow cards. The eight-goal 19-year-old has not missed a minute of action in the last eight games.
Caretaker manager Darius Kierans has, however, added former Manchester City striker and Carrickmacross native Barry Conlon to his squad. The 33-year-old, who spent time as a Youth at Oriel Park, last played competitively with Olympic de Charleroi-Marchienne in Belgium.
Absent through injury will be young trio, right-back Robbie Gaul (knee), central midfielder Garreth Brady (ankle) and the versatile Peter Thomas (thigh).
The versatile Paul Walsh (groin) is rated doubtful.
Young pair, left-back Nathan Murphy and central midfielder Conor McDonald have been nursing minor hamstring strains but should be available for selection.
Kierans is looking for a change of luck as his outfit bid to climb away from the bottom of the table: "We’re not getting the bounce of the ball but you have to keep going and you have to keep believing that it will bounce for you, that you will get the luck and you will get it at the right times,” he said.
“I have full belief in the players. There is no doubt that naivety probably cost us the game last Friday but it’s also naivety that can help you bounce back from something like that.
“We have a lot of young players and I don’t think they’ll have any problem bouncing back. The boys are looking forward to Friday’s game and they know the importance of it."
UCD are still missing the injured goalkeeper John Kelly (thigh), while top scorer Graham Rusk (shin), midfielders Chris Mulhall (groin) and striker Cillian Morrison (ankle) have all increased their rehab and were back jogging and kicking a ball in training with physio Dave Clancy during the week.
All three are quite close to a return to full training.
Tom O’Halloran (groin) remains a long term absentee, Sean Russell (groin) is still a couple of weeks away from a return while centre back David O’Connor (hamstring) is a doubt for Friday’s game.
Tomas Boyle didn’t train on Wednesday due to flu but should be ok.
Looking ahead to the Oriel Park clash, manager Martin Russell said: "We are playing against a Dundalk team who were very unlucky not to get something last week and new manager Darius Kierans has them playing well and for each other so we know it will be a tough game.”
He also spoke about last week’s 3-1 win over Bray: “We managed to get a vital win, but we are continuing to strive to play better and we are not getting carried away with results.
“Dundalk won’t want to lose any more ground and we are looking forward to a competitive game”
SHAMROCK ROVERS V SHELBOURNE, 8.00
Fresh on the back of Monday night's Leinster Senior Cup win, Shamrock Rovers play host to Shelbourne.
Graham Gartland (back) and Stephen O'Donnell (hamstring) are both out of the Hoops squad through injury. Billy Dennehy is suspended for the game, while Gary Twigg returns after missing last week's match against Cork City.
Commenting on the game, Hoops boss, Stephen Kenny said: "This is a big weekend for us as we have two Dublin derbies between now and Monday, against Shels and Bohs.
"Every derby game is hard fought, and you don't get a win in them without earning that right.
"The players are in good form in all competitions; we've won seven and drew one from our last eight games. We know we will have to beat our best to get a win against Shelbourne, but we are playing with confidence and the players' work ethic has been very good."
Shelbourne have three players suspended - all for reaching four yellow cards – Gareth Matthews, Kevin Dawson and Brian Shortall.
The trio of Philly Gorman, Chris Bennion and Ian Ryan, who missed the Derry game last week through injury, are all expected to be fit, so apart from those suspended, Alan Mathews will have a full squad to select from.
Mathews was far from happy with the 2-0 loss to the Candystripes at home. "We had an opportunity to score a goal after three minutes – a wonderful chance – we didn’t take it.
"We contributed to our own downfall by defending poorly for the goals and we didn't do the basics well.!
On the visit to Tallaght, he added: “A big game for the club, we’ll be ready and we’ll ensure that we get a better performance than last week”