Baraclough urges caution as Sligo seek revenge over UCD
THEIR IMPRESSIVE 3-1 win at Shelbourne on Friday may have opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table with a game in hand, but Sligo Rovers’ manager Ian Baraclough is urging caution as a first league title since 1977 for those around Yeats Country comes invitingly into focus.
Facing a revitalised UCD, the only side to have beaten Sligo in the league this season, at the Showgrounds tonight should help in keeping everyone’s feet firmly on the ground.
“We have to be fully focused on this game,” said Baraclough. “I want to avenge the defeat to UCD for a start because that is a blot on our copybook at the moment.
“But that night we were beaten soundly. That wasn’t a fluke. UCD beat us well and these are big games coming up now,” added Baraclough who, apart from Danny North, gone for the season with a knee injury, has a full squad to choose from.
“It will be a tough one. There will be someone that puts together a run of wins from teams behind us and if we don’t look after ourselves, they will make up ground.
“Nobody hands you anything, you have to be professional, work hard and treat each game the same as the previous one. Otherwise you get punished, and we were deservedly beaten by a UCD side earlier in the year that can be so dangerous, as they showed against Cork last Friday.”
UCD, who’ve won their last two games to lift themselves off the foot of the table, have influential midfielder Paul Corry back from suspension, but John Kelly, Chris Mulhall, Samir Belhout, Cillian Morrison and Graham Rusk remain out injured.
Losing at home to Bray Wanderers on Friday having greatly damaged their title hopes, St Patrick’s Athletic, fourth in the table – 11 points behind Sligo – face the most telling week of their season. Liam Buckley’s side are in Dundalk tonight before hosting Sligo on Friday. “Dundalk is now huge,” said Buckley. “We’re now chasing a spot in Europe, never mind first or second. Bearing in mind how Europe went for us this year, we’d want a taste of that again next year.”
Defender Kenny Browne and winger Darren Meenan, both sent off against Bray, are suspended while midfielder John Russell (ankle) is again likely to miss out.
Dundalk hope to have central defender Liam Burns back.
(7.45 unless stated)
Bohemians v Shelbourne
(Home: 6/4, Draw: 11/5, Away: 17/10)
Bray Wanderers v Derry City
(Home: 11/5, Draw: 11/5, Away: 6/5)
Cork City v Drogheda Utd
(Home: 11/8, Draw: 11/5, Away: 15/8)
Dundalk v St Patrick’s Ath
(Home: 9/2, Draw: 5/2, Away: 8/13)
Sligo Rovers v UCD
(Home: 1/5, Draw: 5/1, Away: 11/1)