Bray Wanderers -v- Sligo RoversFri, Sep 21 2012
With the structure of next season’s league having been confirmed the teams at the bottom of the Premier Division will have enjoyed a renewed sense of jeopardy this week. Knowing that there will be no reprieve from the relegation play-offs, Bray Wanderers will be looking at the seven point gap between them and Dundalk and focusing all their attention on maintaining it.
Taking something from this clash with Champions in waiting, Sligo Rovers, will not be easy. Bray haven’t won against Sligo since the summer of 2009 and they enter the weekend on a run of three successive defeats. Furthermore, the Seagulls haven’t won at home since they beat UCD 3-1 back in June.
Speaking before the game Devlin referred to their last league outing, a 2-0 defeat against Cork City. “We had a great chance to get back into the game when we were 0-1 down but didn't take it. We have to improve our finishing”, adding “It will be a tough game for us on Friday against the League leaders, its always tough against Sligo but we are looking forward to it".
Devlin’s concerns about his front line will be somewhat assuaged by the return of veteran goal-scorer Jason Byrne, along with midfielder Dean Zambra, both of whom have been sidelined through suspension. With only Kevin Knight on the injured list Devlin will have a strong squad to choose from, but the absence of the suspended Kevin O'Connor from central midfield may see the return of brother Danny to the middle of the park.
The last time Sligo Rovers came to the Carlisle Grounds they won 2-1 and went top of the league, a position they have retained since that day. Another three points on Friday night would move them one step closer to a first league title since 1977.
Standing six points clear of second placed Drogheda United, manager Ian Baraclough will look to extend his side’s lead without injured trio Danny North, Alan Keane and Iarfhlaith Davoren, none of whom will play any further part this season. He will also be without central defender Gavin Peers who is suspended.
Sligo didn’t play last weekend as the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup took place and Baraclough is keen to get his men back into their rhythm.
“It seems like an eternity since we’ve played truthfully. Our preparations have been good this week and I think the lads are looking forward to putting on the jersey again and playing a game. The only pressure we feel is pressure we put on ourselves that week-on-week we deliver and I think we’ve got better as the weeks have gone on”.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Bray haven’t won any of their last five league games at the Carlisle Grounds.
Sligo were last beaten in the league by Bray on 2nd June 2009 when goals from Gareth Coughlan, Gary McCabe, along with an og by Danny Ventre, gave the Seagulls a 3-1 win over the Bit O’ Red.
The only team to have beaten Sligo in the league this season are UCD, who won 1-0 at the Belfield Bowl in May. Graham Rusk scored for the Students.
Bray 7/1; Draw 16/5; Sligo 2/5.
Bray Wanderers 1 - 3 Sligo Rovers.
Bray Injury News: Kevin Knight.
Bray Suspension News: Kevin O'Connor.
Sligo Injury News: Danny North, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Alan Keane.
Sligo Suspension News: Gavin Peers.
Simon O'Gorman began reporting for Extratime in 2010. He remembers Milltown and Flower Lodge and, back in the mists of time, saw Diego Maradona play at Lansdowne Road. He now lives in Co Kildare and reports on Shamrock Rovers among others. Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org