National League Previews


Drogheda Utd v Shamrock Rvs (7.45) LEADERS Shamrock Rovers visit bottom of the table Drogheda in confident mood after wins against Kilkenny and Derry that have edged them to the front of a Dublin dominated table.

Having seen his side subjected to kitchen sink stuff last week against Derry but come through it unscathed, Mick Byrne is likely to stick with much the same side for the short journey to United Park. Neil Tarrant, a striker who arrived last week on a trial from Darlington is expected to start the evening on the bench.

The home side, meanwhile, will probably have a couple of changes despite doing well to take a point home from Dalymount on Sunday. "It was nice to get what we went there for but we'll be looking to have more of a go at Rovers on home territory," says United manager Martin Lawlor. If Rovers stick with playing Tony Cousins up front by himself then the hosts, who tied up three defenders on man marking duties last week should certainly have a good deal more freedom to get forward.

Last season: Did not meet.

Recent league form: Drogheda: LLLLD, Rovers: DWLWW.

Leading scorers: Drogheda: N Reid (two), Rovers: Cousins: (five).

Betting: Home: 3/1, Draw: 9/4, Away 4/5.

Referee: P Whelan (Dublin).

Shelbourne v Sligo Rovers (7.45) TWO teams who have scored and conceded fairly freely over the opening weeks come face to face in what could turn out to be a cracking encounter.

Shelbourne have looked shakey on the road so far but at Tolka they have been unbeatable to date and with their injury problems now fairly much sorted out they will present a tough challenge for Nicky Reid's side.

Damien Richardson has the option of bringing back Pascal Vaudequin for the start although he may stick with the same side that lost to UCD, a result which their manager blames on a temporary loss of concentration. Pat Scully, named last night as the Opel/ Soccer Writers' Player Of The Month for September will lead the defence (and probably attack as well for that matter) once again.

Reid, meanwhile, will be forced into at least one change as Neil Ogden is suspended. Centre half Lee Shearer returns from injury, however, so the emphasis may be more on positional switches than alterations to a line up that has generally done well in recent weeks.

Last season: Skigo 1 Shelbourne 1, Shelbourne 3 Sligo 0, Sligo 0 Shelbourne 3.

Recent league form: Shelbourne: WWLWL, Sligo: DWWWL.

Leading scorers: Shelbourne: Scully (five), Sligo: Rose (four).

Betting: Home: 4/6, Draw: 9/4, Away 7/2.

Referee: B O'Regan (Cork).

First Division

For this evening's trip to Athlone Tommy Lynch will keep faith with the same squad whose victory last week took Waterford top although he will not make a decision on which formation to employ until this evening and it on this that the final team selection will depend.

"It worked well for us when we switched from 3-4-3 to 4-4-2 last week and I'll have to think about which to start with this time," says Lynch who is still out himself with a hamstring.

"It's nice to be top after seven games but I'd prefer if it was with seven remaining. For the moment we just have to keep winning games and this will be another tough one," he adds.

Cobh, meanwhile, are likely to be without Tommy Butler for the game at Bray although manager Stuart Ashton is still hopeful that his side can put their disappointing start behind them and cause an upset.

Betting courtesy of Paddy Power.