Bray Wanderers will hope to maintain their unbeaten home record this campaign when they welcome St. Patrick's Athletic to the Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening.
Pat Devlin's side have picked up four points from their two league encounters in front of their own fans and will welcome the sight of home comforts after suffering defeats on the road to Sligo Rovers, Drogheda United and Derry City.
Goalkeeper Darren Quigley was controversially sent off in the home draw with UCD but returns after serving his suspension on Easter Monday. However, Pat Devlin faces an anxious wait over the fitness of Adam Mitchell and Kevin O’Connor. The pair have been side-lined with knee and hamstring injuries respectively and remain doubts for the visit of the Saints.
Bray have one of the youngest squads in the Premier Division with the average age just 23 and thirteen of their players under the age of 21 but the evergreen Jason Byrne continues to be their main threat. The former Republic of Ireland international has already scored three goals this season and, along with Kieran Marty Waters, poses a danger to any opposition.
Looking ahead to Friday’s games, Pat Devlin said; “It’s always tough against St. Patricks, they are a good side and will be difficult to beat.”
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC
St. Pats have endured a frustrating start to the campaign and will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s home defeat to Dundalk when they make the short trip to Wicklow on Friday.
The Richmond Park side have picked up six points from their opening four league games but will be confident they can get back to winning ways at a ground where they have an impressive recent record. The Saints last suffered a league defeat to Bray in August 2010 when current Pats winger Jake Kelly bagged a brace.
For Saints’ manager Liam Buckley, bouncing back from the midweek defeat is the aim, though he admitted that he expects Pat Devlin’s side to make things very difficult for the away side.
“We weren’t happy with the way things ended up on Tuesday against Dundalk, so we’ll all be aiming to improve on that this Friday against Bray,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
“Pat has assembled a young squad together with some players who have huge potential. When you add in the few experienced heads to that that they have, the likes of Jason Byrne for example, you have a very good side. They’re unbeaten in their two home games to date so we know the challenge they’ll pose, but we’ll be looking to take the points on offer on the night.”
Buckley will have to do without the services of Shane McFaul once again as the midfielder continues to nurse a groin injury but is expected to return to training next week.
For Saints’ striker Christy Fagan, the opportunity to get back on the pitch so soon after the Dundalk defeat and put things right is a welcome one. “Tuesday was very disappointing, but the good thing about having a game so soon is that we can hopefully go out and put on a performance to correct things.”
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Bray Wanderers have conceded at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 matches in Airtricity League.
St. Patrick's Athletic have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 away matches against Bray Wanderers in all competitions.
Bray Wanderers have failed to win 13 of their last 14 matches in Airtricity League.
Bray Wanderers 10/3, Draw 12/5, St. Patrick's Athletic 4/5.
The visitors should have enough quality to prevail but it will be a close encounter; 2-1 Pats.
Doubtful: Adam Mitchell (knee), Kevin O’Connor (hamstring).
St. Patrick's Athletic
Injured: Shane McFaul (groin).