Leaders Sligo have the momentum and form
A LOT will be made for TV purposes of the two unbeaten records Sligo Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic take into this evening’s encounter at the Showgrounds but it is the home side who have the greater momentum having established a three-point lead at the top of the table.
Liam Buckley’s side may have trounced Shamrock Rovers a few weeks back but they have drawn four of their last six outings in the league while Sligo, for whom former St Patrick’s favourite Danny North has already scored seven times, have dropped points just once, to Derry, since the opening night of the campaign.
They may be without Alan Keane due to a knee injury while Jason McGuinness is still not quite right. However, Ian Barraclough has strong options to work with and is predicting an open game.
Derry head to Tallaght again looking to repeat their Setanta Sports Cup success over Shamrock Rovers there a couple of weeks ago but after coming close to overturning the 3-0 deficit in the second leg at the Brandywell, Rovers will be intent on extending their 100 per cent home record in the championship. Former Derry player Killian Brennan faces a late test on a calf injury.
Derry are still without Stewart Greacen and Rory Patterson and have to wait to assess the fitness of Kevin Deery, Shane McEleney and Owen Morrison.
Dundalk have been a model of inconsistency so far having managed not to do the same thing for two matches running and having won in Derry last week they’ll face Bohemians this evening with a makeshift defence as Liam Burns and Derek Foran are injured while Chris Shields is suspended. The visitors have doubts about Karl Moore (shoulder) and Derek Pender (hamstring) but Dwayne Wilson is available again.
Bray Wanderers boss Pat Devlin will be looking for the same sort of performance his players produced in the first half against the champions last week when they take on Monaghan United tonight. Shane O’Connor and Stephen Brennan miss the trip while Monaghan have Willo McDonagh and Aidan Collins back but goalkeeper Chris Bennion as well as Keith Quinn are out suspended.
Drogheda United will look to maintain their tremendous start with a win at Belfield where they will be without Paul Crowley while UCD have Chris Mulhall and Ger Barron injured while Seán Russell and Niall Corbett have been away with the Irish schools team.
Cork City will head to Tolka Park hoping for a repeat of their win over Shelbourne in October when they clinched the first division title in injury time. Tommy Dunne must wait to see if Gearóid Morrissey, Shane O’Connor or Jamie Murphy are fit to start but John Dunleavy joins the list of those sidelined with knee ligament damage. Shelbourne are without long-term absentees Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley and the suspended Stephen Paisley.