Sligo come in search of capital gains against Bohemians
Champions head for Dalymount Park aiming to continue strong start to title defence
Anthony Elding scores Sligo’s third goal last weekend. Photograph Inpho/Morgan Treacy
Already five points clear at the top of the table, Sligo Rovers pay their first visit of the campaign to the capital this evening when Bohemians will be trying to put a halt to a runaway start to the champions’ title defence. It’ll be easier said than done.
Rovers boss Ian Baraclough isn’t getting carried away after four straight wins but does sound like a man who feels he’s got an even better squad than last year when his side was the best in country by a distance.
“I think we’ve brought in three or four who have improved things,” he says, “but I had a fair idea from early on that I’d be losing Mark Quigley and Jason McGuinness and I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to do to replace them.
“When Danny North was in the side last year, he played on the shoulder of defenders, looked to get in behind them, and when Mark came in then the team had to evolve a bit because he liked to be a lot more involved.
“Anthony Elding gives us more of a focal point, which isn’t to say we’re looking to go long but he is strong and quick, can bring other players into it, and certainly knows where the goal is (he has five goals in four games to date). I think he’s a more rounded player, overall.”
As for former Bohemian Evan McMillan, he says: “I think he’s a younger version of Jason. But he’s more comfortable on the ball, quicker over ground and six (it’s actually four) years younger. So I don’t think we’ve lost anything there either.”
Aside from North, Rovers will be missing Danny Ventre and Joseph Ndo, but Iarfhlaith Davoren and Gavin Peers are back in contention to start.
The locals are without Chris Lyons, whose ankle injury is thought to be more serious now than when he sustained it against Shamrock Rovers.
Shane Fitzgerald is back training, while Stephen Paisley and Dave Mulcahy are both available for selection.
Shamrock Rovers, meanwhile, will look to secure only their second league win of the season, against Cork, but must do it without McGuinness or possibly Quigley, whose ankle is said still to be a problem.
Given how hard they have found it to come by goals, they could do with the latter, but Trevor Croly has other concerns on this occasion, with Seán O'Connor and Conor Winn both doubtful due to injury.
City are without Brian Lenihan and Dan Murray, while Daryl Horgn (hamstring) is a doubt but John Dunleavy is available.
Derry City are without Stewart Greacen and Kevin Deery (both knee) and Paddy Kavanagh for the visit of Shelbourne, who travel without the injured Glenn Cronin and Ger Hanley or the suspended Graham Gartland.
Bray must again cope without Adam Mitchell at home to UCD, while Jason Byrne (ankle) is a doubt but Shane O’Connor makes the squad for the first time this season. UCD are without Mick Leahy (knee) and Robbie Benson (hamstring).