Shamrock Rovers welcome Bray Wanderers to Tallaght Stadium for the first of the season’s midweek fixtures still in search of their first win (kick-off 8pm).
The Hoops fell to a humbling 3-1 defeat at rivals Bohemians on the opening day, having led until the final 20 minutes, before a creditable draw at home to Dundalk on Friday (match report here).
Now Stephen Bradley’s side will look to pick up their first three points of the season against the Seagulls, who beat them twice during the 2017 season.
“I thought the Dundalk game was a big improvement on the previous week,” Bradley told the club’s official website.
“On another night we could have scored as we had the one off the post by Brandon Miele. Attacking wise we’ll get better as time goes but overall as a team it was good and everyone did well.
“We probably only had one or two chances each throughout the game but it was a good competitive game.
“We’ve been excellent defensively in pre-season and we slipped for 10 minutes against Bohs but I knew that wasn’t us.
“It was good to see us back to ourselves on Friday and we want to continue that against Bray.
“It’s a credit to the squad that in our second season everyone is talking about us competing with the top two. Now we need to make sure we win on Monday.”
Bradley will be boosted by the return of Trevor Clarke, who returns from a three-game suspension after being sent off in the last meeting with Bray.
Ronan Finn is nursing the knock that kept him out of Friday’s meeting with his former side but could feature, while Greg Bolger is also being assessed for a slight knee problem.
Dave Mackey’s side fell to their first league defeat of the manager’s reign at home to St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.
As they had in the Leinster Senior Cup defeat against Pats two weeks earlier, Bray conceded early and often and were 2-0 down within 15 minutes to goals from Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan.
Gary McCabe did pull one back for the Seagulls in spectacular fashion after 20 minutes but Bray never really looked like getting anything out of the game (match report here).
“We started slowly against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night however we worked our way back into the game,” said manager Dave Mackey.
“We could have taken a point in the end but there are many positives that we take from the game. Things are going in the right direction.”
Dylan Hayes misses out through injury but fellow defender Conor Kenna could return after returning to full training last week.
Referee: Robert Hennessy
The sides met three times during 2017 with the Seagulls holding the upper hand, winning two of the three games.
Each meeting was won the home side on the night, with Harry Kenny’s side winning 4-2 in April before triumphing 1-0 in their final home game of the year.
The Hoops did manage one win, coming out 2-0 victors in May in a game brought forward to accommodate their European qualifiers.
Shamrock Rovers 1/3; Draw 7/2; Bray Wanderers 7/1.
Shamrock Rovers 2 – 0 Bray Wanderers
Doubtful: Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn.
Injured: Dylan Hayes.