Waterford v Dundalk, RSC, 7:45pm – Live on RTÉ2
Dundalk travel to Waterford knowing they are just two wins from retaining their league crown and a first for head coach Vinny Perth.
The RTÉ cameras will be at both games to bring you the action live. The Lilywhites enjoyed a routine win in the FAI Cup and a similar outcome will be expected here. The first step to a treble was taken last week in securing the EA SPORTS Cup against Derry City.
But the Blues showed they are still a threat with a late success in Dalymount Park last week.
Waterford: Dean Walsh and Kenny Browne miss the game through injury. John Kavanagh is close to a return from injury but remains a doubt for Friday. Will Fitzgerald and Walter Figueira are both struggling with knocks and will need late fitness tests.
Dundalk: John Mountney remains sidelined with a metatarsal injury and Jordan Flores is also out with a thigh problem. Sean Murray may play some part after overcoming a knee issue.
What they say
Alan Reynolds (Waterford manager): "It's a massive win for us against Bohemians. I didn’t think that there was much in the game and I don’t think that there is much between ourselves and Bohs over the four games. Consistency is probably the big thing where they are third in the table and we’re fourth from bottom.
"We were disappointed with the goals we conceded in the Dundalk cup game. You can’t give a team like Dundalk the time and space or they’ll punish you, especially in a cup quarter final."
Patrick Hoban (Dundalk striker): "The main aim is to win the league and we have a good chance over the weekend to pick up more points in that. We played Waterford last week in the FAI Cup and it was a difficult game.
"It was tough for us and we know that they will be looking to win the game as well so we know what to expect when we go down there. They are a good side and in the second half last week they showed what they are about.
"We are looking forward to it though, we know what we have to do and we go there with confidence. We are in good form and hopefully we can start the weekend with a win."
Cork City v Finn Harps, Turner's Cross, 7:45pm
Somehow, in mid-September, Cork City are looking for a win to seal their place in next year's Premier Division after a trying season at Turner's Cross.
Cork have the worst home record in the country with just two wins in 15 matches and will see this game as a chance for Neale Fenn's first win in charge and to allow them to breathe a little easier.
The Finn Harps resurgence has faded in recent weeks as shown in not testing Sligo Rovers last week.
With UCD still trying to claw them back, this is a pivotal game in their year. Victory would bring Cork to within four points again.
Cork City: Cian Murphy, Cian Bargary, Ronan Hurley are out but Gearóid Morrissey returns.
Finn Harps: Keith Cowan and Mark Coyle are suspended. Ruairi Harkin and Mark Timln are both doubtful. Michael Gallagher and Ciaran Gallagher remain on the injured list.
What they say
Neale Fenn (Cork City manager): "It's a big pressure game, it’s going to be very tough. I know Finn Harps well from last season when we played them a few times at Longford. It won’t be easy, they won’t let us rest. They’ll make it difficult for us, and they’re a big threat from set-pieces. We’ve worked on a few bits and we think we should be able to win the game."
"We’ll try to enforce our game on them. They’re coming to our home ground, so we feel that we should enforce our game on them. We need to be better, as I’ve said to the players, at the other end when we’re not attacking. We’ve worked on little pieces of that and they’ve taken it on board and we’re fully confident going into the game now."
Ollie Horgan (Finn Harps): "We'll be turned over by Cork if the same mistakes are repeated as happened in the Sligo game last Friday.
"Neale Fenn still has the nucleus of the successful side that was there a couple of years ago and will have his players really up for us. They need a result just like us.
"So if we’re not up for it, then Cork will win. We’re in danger of UCD closing the gap more if we don’t get our act together quickly."
Derry City v Bohemians, Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, 7:45pm
This is a massive game in the race for Europe as the teams in third and fourth meet. Derry came so close to upsetting Dundalk last week and the manner of the EA SPORTS Cup final loss was particulary deflating. But it also offered a reminder of the level to can get to and how difficult they can make their home venue.
Bohs have been hampered by a number of absentees and that was telling in the game against Waterford. A relatively comfortable night against Crumlin booked a semi-final spot in the FAI Cup but it's vital they don't let a Europa League spot slip away in the league.
Derry City: The Candystripes will be without Darren Cole who misses the rest of the season with a cruciate injury while Grant Gillespie is suspended after Saturday's red card. Greg Sloggett and Conor Davis took part in training this week and the pair are in contention for Friday.
What they say
Declan Devine (Derry City manager): "We had to move on very quickly, which is what we've done in every game this season- win, lose or draw.
"There are six games left- four of them here-including a couple against our nearest challengers in the race for Europe. The boys have worked so hard this season and that would be a fitting reward.
"It’s going to be very tough; we haven’t beaten Bohs this season, so we know we’ll have to be at our very best. We've gone toe-to-toe with the best team in the country four times now and that has given these players real belief."
Keith Long (Bohemians manager):
UCD v Sligo Rovers, UCD Bowl, 7:45pm
UCD gave themselves some hope last weekend by holding St Patrick's Athletic to a 0-0 draw in Richmond Park.
It's still a big ask but with Finn Harps to come next month, relegation is far from a certainty. They will see this as a crucial game, at home to a team in the bottom half.
However, Sligo are having their best period of the season and have a record of four wins from as many matches against College.
Much of their season rests on next week's FAI Cup semi-final with Dundalk and Liam Buckley will be eager to maintain the momentum from their Cup run.
UCD: Not available
Sligo Rovers: Dante Leverock and Sam Warde are suspended. Johnny Dunleavy is out a foot problem.
What they say
Maciej Tarnogrodzki (UCD manager): Not available
Liam Buckley (Sligo Rovers manager): "In football you are always playing for something and that can be for a place in the team for a big game like a semi-final, your future at a club, your next contract. It is the nature of it so there’s no dropping of levels or anything like that because of what is to come later in the season.
"We have to see out the league in the right manner. We’ve put a lot of work into it and because of that there has to be a determination to get as many points as we can. As I've said we want that sixth place and we need a few more results to ensure we get it.
"UCD had a good result this week and they will be doing their all to catch Finn Harps so we expect a hard game as every game in this league is."
Shamrock Rovers v St Patrick's Athletic, Tallaght Stadium, 8pm
There is a curious situation for Shamrock Rovers who know that their league season could be about to come to an end in terms of meaningful games - and the possibility to being the team Dundalk beat to seal the title on Monday.
The FAI Cup is the priority in their season now and that could lead to a much-changed side for that fixture. In the unlikely scenario of the Lilywhites slipping up on Friday night, a win here for the Hoops could re-open that door slightly to try in the title race.
Stephen O'Donnell has said he is keen to look at every player in his ranks, despite being in the midst of a battle for a European place that is worth hundreds of thousands of euro to the club and could impact on his budget for next year.
With Derry and Bohs clashing elsewhere, the Saints must improve on last week's disappointing 0-0 outcome against UCD.
Shamrock Rovers: Neil Ferrugia is close to being available after a long-term injury since signing from UCD. Joey O'Brien is still out.
St Patrick's Athletic: There are no injury or suspension worries for Pat's.
What they say
Stephen Bradley (Shamrock Rovers manager): "I'm not sure what to expect from St Pat’s because they’ve changed the team quite a bit in the last three games, against Finn Harps, UCD and Cabinteely. We’ve just got to be ready for whatever Pat’s bring and make sure we’re at it. Stephen O’Donnell has come in and I’m sure it’s going to give their players a lift. It usually happens for a few weeks where they get a buzz. They’ll come to Tallaght looking for a win so we’ve got to implement our game plan and hit our levels.
"Confidence is really high in the dressing room. The players have been excellent and the performance levels have been really high other than little patches here and there. Hopefully we can take that into tomorrow night."
Stephen O'Donnell (St Patrick's Athletic manager): "All in all we would have been disappointed to just come away with a point.
"But I suppose four points from the first two games is not the worst start. It's all about the demanding off each other and the players demanding to have the levels higher.
"I'm really looking forward to it and the players are too. It's going to be a tough game. Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk have been a good bit clear of the rest this season.
"So we know we are going to be up against it. But one thing that we know we have is belief in the dressing room. We are going to instill a lot of belief in the dressing room when we are going to Tallaght looking to get something from the game."