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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 18 December, 2017
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It's Friday, so here's all your League of Ireland game previews

Derry and Pat’s take centre stage but it’s another busy night under the Friday night lights throughout the country.

Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Derry City v St Patrick’s Athletic, (7.05pm)

THE TELEVISION CAMERAS will be at the Brandywell this evening as Derry City welcome St Pat’s to Foyleside.

The hosts are aiming to win for the first time in six games but will have to do so without the the suspended Patrick McEleney. Stewart Greacen (knee), Kevin Deery (knee) and Mark Farren (hamstring) are also set to miss out.

“We have to pick ourselves up again this week and get to the level of passion and commitment we showed last Friday night,” said Derry boss, Declan Devine. “So far this season we haven’t utilised the home support and the advantage that gives us, but we must use it to our adavantage against St Pat’s.”

The Saints make the trip north without midfielder the inured James Chambers while Stephen O’Flynn still has a slight thigh strain.

St Patrick’s Athletic boss Liam Buckley: “Derry are in fine form lately and the work that Declan Devine has done there to date has been tremendous. There’s no easy games in this league, but Derry in the Brandywell is always a challenge and it will be a tough game.”

Bray Wanderers v Bohemian FC, Carlisle Grounds

BRAY WANDERERS EARNED the second win of the season their performances deserved, against Monaghan United last week.

“I’ll be looking for a similar performance from the lads against Bohs to last week’s display. It won’t be easy but we will give it our best shot,” said Bray director of football, Pat Devlin.

The Seagulls have a poor record against Bohs – in the four meetings between the sides last season Bohemians were unbeaten, winning three game and drawing one. Wanderers have failed to record a victory in their last ten meetings with Bohs – drawing three times an losing seven.

Bray Wanderers have no new injury worries while Owen Heary is a doubt for Bohs as is flu-hit goalkeeper Andy McNulty, Dave Mulcahy and Danny Joyce. Dave Scully is away at a family wedding meanwhile while Karl Moore returns from a shoulder injury.

Bohemians boss Aaron Callaghan: “Bray has a team similar to ourselves, with a couple of experienced players and a lot more younger players. Their form over recent weeks has been good and they have been unlucky not to get more from some of their matches.”

Cork City v Dundalk, Turner’s Cross

CORK CITY will look to claim back-to-back victories for the first time this term against a Dundalk side that has mixed impressive results with some disappointing displays. Sean McCaffrey’s Lilywhites had an impressive win in Derry on their last road trip but produced a flat performance last time out. Cork secured an equally admirable away win at Shelbourne in their last fixture.

Cork’s Jamie Murphy is ruled out with an ankle injury, while Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan all remain sidelined with knee injuries. John Dunleavy (knee), Shane Duggan (thigh), Shane O’Connor (foot) and Tadhg Purcell (flu) are doubts.

“Dundalk have had a similar start to ourselves,” said Cork City manager Tommy Dunne, “with some good results and some not so good results so far this season. Although they lost last week, any team that goes to the Brandywell and claims a win has to be respected. They do have a young side, but they are game and they are fit.”

Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers, Hunky Dorys Park

TWO OF THE division’s form teams meet in a showdown that could prove an indicator of both sides’ ambitions for the rest of the season. Drogheda’s Gavin Brennan has a slight worry over a groin strain while Paul Crowley will be assessed ahead of the game. Sligo have doubts over Jason McGuinness (back), Alan Keane (knee) and Joseph Ndo  (hamstring).

Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke is expecting a real test.

“It’s going to be tough on Friday night for a number of reasons, for one we are facing Sligo Rovers and also, if we get three points we could potentially be top of the table. That brings a whole new pressure with it. But I think we have proved to people we are playing with intent. Everyone is waiting for us to fall and it’s just not happening.”

Sligo Rovers boss Ian Baraclough: “It’s a tough game for us. They have been strong and we are under no illusions. We have to be right. Our away form has been good and maybe it gives us more freedom when you go away from home. I expect a physical match and I expect us to be up to it.  We were not at our best last week but any time we had a disappointment, the following week we have come back stronger and we‘ll look for that again.”

Shamrock Rovers v UCD, Tallaght Stadium (8.00pm)

“WE HAVE TO bring the level of intensity that we brought last week; we created a lot of chances and we have to continue to do that,” says Hoops boss Stephen Kenny. “UCD pass the ball well and are a technically good team. But we must make home advantage count and play at the level that we are capable of.”

UCD struggled to get a result against the Hoops last season and are looking to secure their first win in five league games.

Ciaran Kilduff (foot) remains out for Rovers while Ken Oman (hamstring) is also out and Killian Brennan (calf) is a doubt. Stephen O’Donnell has resumed training but is unlikely to feature Kerrea Gilbert has returned from injury.

“This fixture represents what is great about Irish football. A top club, well run, in a great stadium against a club that is devoted to developing young Irish players in the right manner. I am really looking forward to the game,” added UCD manager Martin Russell.

Monaghan manager Roddy Collins. INPHO/Donall Farmer

Shelbourne v Monaghan United, Tolka Park (8.00pm). Referee: Graham Kelly.

THESE TWO WERE in the First Division last season. And there’s a lot on the line already tonight.  Monaghan secured their first win of the campaign when they beat Bohemians on their last visit to Dublin and they beat Shels on two visits to Tolka Park in the First Division last season. Shelbourne continue without long-term injury victims Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley while Kevin Dawson is available having passed a fitness test on Wednesday night. Stephen Paisley returns following last week’s suspension.

“Monaghan, like ourselves, are getting used to the demands of the Premier Division and have some very good players at the club,” Shelbourne boss Alan Mathews. ”We are going to have to produce a really top class performance to achieve the three points on offer, but I firmly believe that we have the players to take on any side this season — and go into this game full of confidence.”

Monaghan United manager Roddy Collins expects a better display than last week. “ I was extremely disappointed with both the result and overall performances against Bray Wanderers. This week we are in Tolka Park, a venue that I like going to. It was a very successful ground for me as a manager and continued right up to last season when we won both games there. Shelbourne have done well since promotion to the Premier.”

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