Tuesday's Airtricity Premier Division Previews

  • Tue, May 28, 2013 @ 1:13

St Patrick’s Ath v UCD

Top of the table St Pat’s have the opportunity to extend their lead over second places Sligo on Tuesday night.

With the Champions facing the tricky prospect of a home time with Dundalk, Liam Buckley’s men host an inconsistent UCD side at Richmond Park.

St Pat’s are in magnificent form. Unbeaten since the start of April when they lost 2-1 at home to Dundalk, they have since gone on a run that has saw them win nine and draw four games and they will be confident of claiming another victory against the Students.

Buckley has a full squad from which to chose for the visit of UCD but the St Pat’s boss is wary of the Dublin side.

UCD are in a bit of a purple patch at the moment. With just a point from their opening nine games, the Students looked set for a relegation battle but a 2-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers proved to be a turning point and they’ve bagged 13 points from their last six games propelling them up the table.

Buckley warned: “UCD have had a tremendous month of results lately. They’ve beaten Shamrock Rovers, Derry, Bohemians and had a great win against Dundalk on Friday.

“They are no pushovers and Martin Russell has them playing well and passing the ball well. That being said, we’re in good form too so it really does augur well for a good game of football.”

UCD boss Martin Rusell will once again have to cope without several first team players as Mick Leahy, Robbie Creevy, Tomas Boyle, Sean Russell and Ger Barron continue to be sidelined through injury.

Publically Russell is playing down his side’s chances saying: "St Pat's are on top of the league with a title challenging squad, it's the type of game players join UCD to be involved in. It represents a real test and invaluable experience." However given their form, he will believe his side can claim at least a point.

UCD at St Pat’s will also meet on Friday in the FAI Ford Cup but with the Students without a win at Richmond Park since 2001 – a game in which former MNS pundit Paul Doolin scored – it’s difficult to envisage anything but a home win.

Verdict: St Pat’s

Sligo Rovers v Dundalk

Champions Sligo have been removed from the top of the Airtricity Premier League table after Friday’s scoreless draw with Limerick and will be eager to halt their recent slide in form.

With just two wins in their last six league games, Sligo have seen their lead at the top whittled away and they go into this game trailing leaders St Patrick’s Athletic by two points.

A frustrating scoreless draw with Limerick at Thomond Park on Friday was Sligo’s second consecutive scoreless in the league and manager Ian Baraclough is hoping to see his side rediscover their scoring touch.

“We created 16 chances in the game, forcing their goalkeeper into making several saves and it just didn’t fall for us in front of goal,” the Sligo boss said. "On another night, we could have come away with three or four goals. I have no qualms about it.

“We limited them to three efforts on goal, with Gary Rogers having to tip the ball over the crossbar in the most threatening of them. We were very solid and unfortunately the goal just didn’t come. We came away with a point and it should have been all three but we move on to Tuesday night,” he added.

Baraclough must plan for the visit of Dundalk without the services of Lee Lynch who picked up a hamstring injury in that game with Limerick. Evan McMillan is also out with a knee injury, while Danny North is still a few games away from recovering from his knee injury.

The Rovers boss is expecting a testing encounter but is confident his side can get the win they need to keep the pressure on St Pat’s. “I think both teams will see the game as a big opportunity. We gave ourselves a great platform in Oriel Park earlier in the season, we moved the ball well and were very clinical in front of goal to earn a 3-1 win,” he said.

“They will come here with no fear and play football and that should make it an entertaining game. When you create as many chances as we did against Limerick, there is a sense of frustration of not getting the victory. This game comes just a few days later and allows a chance to rid some of that.”

Dundalk come into this game on the back of a disappointing week. Last Tuesday they exited the EA Sports Cup at the hands of Shamrock Rovers and on Friday evening suffered a 3-2 defeat against UCD.

Despite having a host of chances, Dundalk were only able to convert two of those through Patrick Hoban and some loose defending played a part as they lost their first home match in four.

On the injury front Chris Shields continues to recover from a knee injury but
he is Dundalk’s only absentee as they have no injury concerns or suspensions for their trip west.

Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny is expecting an immediate response from his players after Friday’s defeat and said: “We want to put Friday behind us. The players gave everything they had and unfortunately it just didn’t happen. We didn’t deserve to lose the game and we created so many chances.

“It was frustrating but it’s a new challenge going to Sligo. We have been very consistent away from home with just the one defeat and we want to keep going. We have to dust ourselves down, go again and try get a result.”

As Kenny points out, his side had a perfect record away from home aside from their defeat to Shamrock Rovers and on the road they’re defensively solid. However up against the like of Rafael Cretaro and Anthony Elding, a solid Dundalk defence will be tested and Sligo should be able to emerge triumphant.

Verdict: Sligo Rovers.

Next Fixture

Bohemians / June 28th @ 7:45pm
Competition: League
Venue: Richmond Park
Team Pld Pts
Derry City2341
Shamrock Rovers2131
Waterford FC2131
Galway United FC2030
St Patrick's Athletic2327
Sligo Rovers2125
Bohemian FC1924
Drogheda United2116