Drogheda United v Bohemians, Head in the Game Park, 2pm, live on WATCHLOI
With five defeats in eight matches, it has been a rocky start to the season for Bohemians. The Gypsies had a platform to rise up the table when they went 1-0 up against Derry City last Friday.
However, the concession of goals from set-pieces led to another very disappointing loss. They trail the top two by 13 points with less than a quarter of the season gone.
It's putting added importance on each game for Bohs as with the Candystripes and Dundalk now finding form, they need to follow suit or risk being left behind in the bottom half of the table.
Drogheda's steady start to the campaign continued with a 1-1 draw against Sligo Rovers on Friday. The Boynesiders could have won it after a good second-half display. They will see this as another opportunity to build on their current top-half place.
Drogheda United: Mark Hughes and Dinny Corcoran are again set to miss out through injury. Captain Jake Hyland and full-back Conor Kane are doth doubtful.
Bohemians: Not issued.
What they said
Tim Clancy (Drogheda United manager): "We had another very good performance where we could have won the game on Friday and I feel like I've been singing off the same hymn sheet in saying that for a number of games.
"This is another tough game. It's the nature of the league this year. We'll have to go to the well again and maybe get a bit of luck to get a result."
Shamrock Rovers v Waterford FC, Tallaght Stadium, 2pm, live on WATCHLOI
Shamrock Rovers can break the all-time League of Ireland record of 30 games unbeaten in the fixture with Waterford this afternoon.
The Hoops broke Finn Harps hearts when Rory Gaffney profited from a mistake by Mark McGinley and Sean Hoare sealed the win late on.
It seems as if Stephen Bradley's side have yet to find their groove, yet are still level at the top with St Pat's.
Waterford were second best against Dundalk last Friday and it doesn't get any easier here.
Shamrock Rovers: Sean Kavanagh is the only absentee. Neil Farrugia is in contention after six months out with injury.
Waterford FC: Waterford had just two outfield subs against the Lilywhites after manager Kevin Sheedy said he wouldn't use academy players because he felt they were not getting protection on the pitch from officials.
What they said
Stephen Bradley (Shamrock Rovers manager): "We're aware of the record and it's obviously something we want to do. But we and the players have to concentrate on what we do and what we do in our game. If we do that and hit our levels, then we have a very good chance of creating a new record. We've got to concentrate on our performance and everything we bring to the game because Waterford are a dangerous team
"They're very dangerous, even with the game that they lost 3-0. They hit the post three times and missed one or two chances on top of that. In the attacking part of the pitch, they're strong and create a lot of chances. They've lost some games but they've been in every game so we've got to respect that and be ready for that."
Kevin Sheedy (Waterford FC manager): "The third goal at the start of the second half against Dundalk killed us. Overall that was the best we've been in possession, which sounds strange when you get beaten 3-0. We looked a lot more dangerous that we did in certain games. That was the positive.
"We're looking forward to this game. It's another test for our lads. If we can show improvement from the Dundalk game, we'll give a good account of ourselves."
Sligo Rovers v St Patrick's Athletic, The Showgrounds, 5.45pm, live on WATCHLOI
After a blistering start to the year, things have slowed for Sligo Rovers in the last two games. Defeat to Derry City and a point in Drogheda last Friday has seen two clubs move ahead of the Bit O'Red.
One of those is St Patrick's Athletic, who have only dropped points with draws against the Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers.
This is a clash between two sides who could put it up to the Hoops this season. A fascinating game awaits.
Sligo Rovers: David Cawley and Niall Morahan return to the squad for Monday's game. Danny Kane is set to be the only absentee.
St Patrick's Athletic: Cian Kelly (foot) will be out for a number of weeks, he is the only absentee.
What they said:
Liam Buckley (Sligo Rovers manager): "It's a top of the table clash of first against third and from our point of view, we really want to kick on and be up there and go as far as we possibly can this season.
"We’re eight games in and we’re reasonably happy with how we’ve done. It’s a good solid position we find ourselves in and we have to build on it.
"It'll be another tough game against St Pat’s. They’ve started well, they’ve got very good players and they’ve taken top spot. It’s going to be competitive and difficult for both teams. I think it’s one we can look forward to as well."
Alan Mathews (St Patrick's Athletic manager): "It will tell us where we are at, at the end of the first series of games. We are in a good position, as are Sligo. They will want to get the ball down and play so it's going to be a different challenge to the one we came up against Longford. Sligo are there or thereabouts in the league so we know how it’s going to be, we know what we are going in to and we are well set for the challenge.
"I expect there will be a lot of technical play with a lot of football played. We are going to have to work really hard to stop Sligo getting into a rhythm and then we are going to have to work hard to get our game and impose our game on them but it’s all about getting the attitude right.
"We picked up a good result the other night (against Longford) without playing particularly well and we know we will have to do a lot better to get anything from the game on Monday and we know the challenge it’s going to bring."
Longford Town v Dundalk, Bishopsgate, 5.45pm, live on WATCHLOI
Dundalk are starting to emerge from the calamity which surrounded them early in 2021. Jim Magilton has helped the Lilywhites to eight points from four games and wins such as last Friday in Waterford will quickly see them rise up the table.
Longford haven't won since the opening day and a spirited first-half display in Inchicore didn't turn into any points. This could be a difficult evening.
Longford Town: Callum Warfield and Aaron McNally are set to miss out. Dean Zambra returned to the squad on Friday.
Dundalk: David McMillan and Cameron Dummigan are out after picking up injuries in Waterford on Friday night but Darragh Leahy and Daniel Kelly return to the squad.
What they said:
Jim Magilton (Dundalk interim manager): "It was a magnificent all round team performance (against Waterford). There's still lots of things we can improve on but we are delighted with the clean sheet and delighted for the players. Day by day, week by week, game by game confidence is growing.
"We knew that Waterford were going to cause us problems on the night and they did but sometimes you have to grind out the result and that’s what we did. Getting minutes in players legs is important, we know we can rely on these guys and it is important that they make an impact when they are called upon and certainly over the past couple of weeks they have."
Derry City v Finn Harps, Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, 7.45pm, live on WATCHLOI
It hasn't taken Ruaidhri Higgins long to get a tune out of Derry City. Wins in Sligo and Phibsborough have eased the immediate pressure on the Candystripes and changed the outlook.
Harps' were left to rue a goalkeeping error on Friday. In a clear sign of how quickly things can change, a win for Derry would move them level on points with their rivals, when a couple of weeks ago they were 10 points apart.
Derry City: Darren Cole is injured. Ciaran Coll will undergo a late fitness test.
Finn Harps: Ryan Connolly remains out while Shane McEleney, Stephen Folan, Johnny Dunleavy and Conor Barry are doubts.
What they said
Ruaidhri Higgins (Derry City manager): "It's a great occasion to be managing the team for the first time at the Brandywell, especially in a North West derby, but I’m obviously very disappointed that our own supporters can’t be here.
"We’ve done really well in those last two games but that’s gone now and this is another challenge. Harps have started well this season and arrive here above us in the table. We have to look to build on what we’ve done so far and just go and try to win the game."
Ollie Horgan (Finn Harps manager): "Derry are flying now in their first two games under Ruaidhri and it'll take a massive effort when we go up there on Monday night. We've picked up a few knocks in the last game and so we’ll probably be left sweating over the weekend to see what team we’ll be able to field come kick-off."