Bohemians looking to extend strong start in Waterford

Win over Rovers has Long’s squad in good heart for the trip south

Bohemians head to Waterford on Friday evening with a two-point lead at the top of the table and a spring in their collective step after the eventful defeat of cross city rivals Shamrock Rovers on Monday.

Keith Long has the same squad available to him for the game with Michael Barker, Promise Omochere and Cristian Magersun all out while Kevin Devaney is again a doubt.

The Dubliners have done well to date but their fourth outing of the campaign provides another interesting test with Alan Reynolds’s side having taken 10 from 12 against the Dalymount outfit over the course of 2018.

The hosts must wait to see if Kevin Lynch is available for the game with the former Bray Wanderers defender having limped out of Monday’s narrow loss in Derry.

Dundalk are another side to face a tough test on the road this weekend as they visit Shamrock Rovers. The win over UCD will have come as a bit of a relief to the management team at Oriel Park the other night with the champions having now matched last season's start to the season after three games.

Sean Murray is expected to miss out after picking up a knock in the victory though and while Jamie McGrath is firmly back in the reckoning, Pat McEleney and Robbie Benson are both ruled out. There has been just one scoreless draw between these two in their last 17 meetings, a run that extends back to the end of the 2014 campaign.

Rovers, though, will be without suspended striker Aaron Greene for the game and Stephen Bradley will weigh up his other attacking option before deciding on his team with Orhan Vojic reportedly struggling slightly with a rib injury.

Cork boss John Caulfield will be without Alan Bennett and Mathew Gillam for the visit of Derry and City have doubts about Gearóid Morrissey, Graham Cummins and Karl Sheppard all of whom are facing late tests.

Declan Devine’s options should be strengthened by the availability of right back Conor McDermott and the addition to the squad of recently-signed attacking midfielder Gianni Seraf.

Confident mood

Finn Harps will again be without Harry Ascroft and Mark Timlin for the visit of Sligo Rovers but having picked up their first points of the campaign with a couple of fairly impressive draws, Ollie Horgan may be in more confident mood going into this one.

Liam Buckley has pointed to a couple of positives in his side's performances but results have been disappointing to date and the visitors will again be missing Regan Donelon, Johnny Dunleavy and Ronan Coughlan.

David Cawley made an appearance on Monday and could be in contention to start while Ronan Murray is back in training after an ankle injury and may well feature in some way.

UCD, meanwhile, have been finding top flight results harder to come by to date but manager Collie O’Neill took some encouragement from Monday’s loss in Dundalk.

“We went to the league champions, put it up to them, played some great football and created some good chances,” he says. “On another night we certainly could have got something out of the game. We know we can raise it another gear again from that and if we can do just that then we might surprise a few people and pick up a positive result to kick start our season.”

Fixtures (7.45 unless stated). Premier Division. Cork City v Derry City, UCD v St Patrick's Athletic, Waterford v Bohemians, Finn Harps v Sligo Rovers (8.0), Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk (8.0). First Division: Bray Wanderers v Limerick, Shelbourne v Cabinteely, Wexford v Galway United.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times

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