Derry City missed a golden opportunity last weekend against a tired Shamrock Rovers as the teams played out a stalemate at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Despite their mid-season woes and injury problems, City have established themselves in third in the table and the gap to the Hoops is just eight points.
With the top two meeting on Sunday, tonight's fixture away to Drogheda bring both pressure and another major chance to close on the leaders.
Head in the Game Park has been a tough venue for Derry, and having been flat in Donegal against Finn Park, United bounced back in style with an impressive win over Shelbourne.
Elsewhere tonight, St Patrick’s Athletic have just one focus for the rest of the year with European and FAI Cup no longer part of their season.
Pat’s recorded a massive win to give some breathing space between them and fifth place Sligo Rovers in the race to the back in the Conference League again next season.
They make the short trip to the UCD Bowl to face College, who finally ended their long wait for a home win in the league last week over Finn Harps.
There’s a north-west derby as Ollie Horgan’s men welcome Sligo. Both sides will be targeting three points.
John Russell’s side are well and truly down from the height of their European summer and face a huge battle to be back there next season.
The Bit O’ Red have found Finn Park a tough place to go and were fortunate to claim three points earlier in the season.
Harps need to respond after their setback against the Students as they sit bottom of the table once more.
Finally there’s another derby fixture but this time in the capital. Just one point separates Shelbourne and Bohemians in the middle of the table.
Bohs have disappointed in their last two games, going down to narrow defeats despite having lots of possession as their new man settle into life in Phibsborough.
Damien Duff was very unhappy with his side’s display last week as their outside hopes of a top-four finish took a big hit. Any loser of this game will likely see their season end mid-table.
Drogheda United v Derry City, Head in the Game Park, 7.45pm
Derry City have been the best team in the country away from home this season with just two defeats and 22 goals scored.
Nevertheless Drogheda will represent a stern test this evening.
Patrick McEleney has assumed the captain's duties for the Candystripes after the departure of Eoin Toal last month.
"Patrick is the natural choice and I had no hesitation in offering him the armband," City boss Ruaidhri Higgins said.
"He's a real leader, on the pitch and off, and he will bring out the very best in the players around him.
"He's a winner and he's hungry for more success. I know how much that would mean to him at his hometown club.
Higgins is wary of Kevin Doherty's side and how big guns have fallen by the wayside at their home venue.
"Look at their record against the top teams in the table and you'll see a win and a draw against Shamrock Rovers and two wins over Dundalk" he said.
"Dundalk have only lost three times in the league this season and two of them were against Drogheda, so it shows what they are capable of."
Ciaron Harkin is the only absentee for Derry with Michael Duffy fit again.
Shelbourne v Bohemians, Tolka Park, 7.45pm
Bohs dominated the first game between the teams in Tolka Park but these sides couldn't be much closer in the table going into the fixture.
They also share a sense of frustration and disappointment from their games last week.
Shelbourne boss Damien Duff is looking for a response after the the Reds fell to a 3-1 loss at United Park a week ago.
Duff has given Sean Boyd every chance to prove his fitness, as their top scorer suffered a groin injury last time out.
The former Republic of Ireland international said: "Boydy is one of a number of players who’ve put their body on the line for Shels, people don’t realise it, lads playing with injuries, doing everything they can to be out there, playing through pain, the desire to represent the club and work for their teammates is pulling guys through. That's a testament to the character in the squad."
Jad Hakiki remains out. Mark Coyle and Dan Hawkins who remain sidelined with injury.
Following the loss in Drogheda, some home truths were shared among Duff’s squad
He revealed: "Monday and Tuesday in training, the boys were on it. We had a review of the game, it wasn’t pretty as you can imagine.
"The lads know what’s expected and the standards we have, we didn’t hit them against Drogheda, you can lose football games, but it's not good enough to lose it because the other team are hungrier or had more desire.
"We knew what Drogheda would bring, we knew lads on their team would come out with a point to prove to this club and to me, we were prepared for that bite, and we didn’t match it."
The Reds go into this one having drawn once, and lost twice to Bohs this season.
"This is a massive Dublin derby, you don’t have to be involved in the league long to feel the tension, could even go stronger, and called it what it is, the dislike, there’s obviously a lot of history there down the years.
"The players probably feel they owe the fans after the last day, they’ve been brilliant with us, behind us all season, and we want to respond to last week for ourselves, show what we can do, and also to show the fans as well and repay them for their support.
"It’s the kind of fixture where you don’t have to look too much into team talks for motivation, it’s a massive derby, I think from 9:45pm last Friday night, the players have all the motivation they need, they won’t need a speech or a video, they’ll want to go out there, raring to go and show what they can do.
"The games we’ve played so far this season against Bohs, the two in Dalymount, I thought we deserved more out of those games, but listen, that's in the past, this is our last crack at them, and we want to get the win."
UCD v St Patrick's Athletic, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm
St Patrick's Athletic had two routine home wins over UCD so far this season but the away matches did produce a scare.
The Students have improved since those games, picking up most of their points in the last few weeks, and will be keen to finally get a result against the Saints this evening.
Both these sides had red cards in their victories last week and it was UCD in particular who showed a mental strength to take the lead when a man down.
Evan Caffrey’s magnificent strike was the highlight of their season so far. Andy Myler will take great heart from how side have lost three key players to transfers, but are finding their best moments of the season now, and the battle to avoid the drop is well and truly on.
Pat’s must rely on a top three side to win the FAI Cup if they can’t catch the top three.
Mark Doyle (suspended), David Odumosu (ankle) and Adam Murphy (hamstring) will all miss the game tonight. Dara Keane sits out for UCD due to his red card last week.
Saints boss Tim Clancy said: "The three games we have played against UCD so far this season have been tight affairs.
"The last time we were in Belfield, it took a late own goal for us to win and they have had a great result against Finn Harps last weekend.
"Similar to ourselves against Sligo, they went down to 10 men and showed real discipline, hard work and fitness to get the win.
"They are obviously in a scrap for survival and we are in a scrap to try and finish as high up the table as possible so we are expecting it to be a very close game.
"We want to build on the very good result we had against Sligo last week.
"Going down to 10 men especially a few days after the European game, we really need to try and back that performance up with a win so that is the most important thing and we are all looking forward to it."
Finn Harps v Sligo Rovers, Finn Park, 8pm
Aidan Keena bagged his second SWAI / SSE Airtricity Player of the Month award this week.
He missed the last two games for Sligo Rovers and last week in Richmond Park his absence was very strongly felt.
The Bit O' Red were unable to keep the ball in attacking areas, with Keena a key target man all season.
He could return tonight along with the experienced David Cawley. Garry Buckley, Seamas Keogh and Colm Horgan remain out but Horgan is getting closer to a return to full training and may return for their next league clash.
Games such as tonight are going to be vital for Sligo as they look to at least keep themselves in the picture for Europe going into the conclusion of the season.
John Russell was far from dismayed by their performance against Pat's last week, but knows it's a different prospect in this game with a Harps side desperate for points.
Russell said: ''We know this is going to be a tough game. Finn Harps are fighting for survival and they always play well at home.
"They’ve got good players and they were extremely unlucky not to win last week.
"We were disappointed not to come away with something in our last game but it is another opportunity for us to perform well and try and close the gap on the teams above us.
"There are still a lot of games to be played and there will be plenty of twist and turns ahead. The players know how important this fixture is."