Monaghan have torn the form book to pieces in recent weeks and have been the scourge of many failed accumulator bids after picking up four points from their last two league games. They then trumped those results by smashing the current league leaders 3-1 in the Cup.
Roddy Collins’ men completely outclassed Sligo Rovers last Friday night and thoroughly deserved the win after coming from behind. In fact Sligo boss Ian Baraclough admitted after the game he was shocked by the defeat but the result was no flash in the pan with Monaghan finally starting to show their metal.
They bravely hung on for a point at home to reigning champions Shamrock Rovers the week before and claimed what could become a hugely important victory over fellow strugglers cash-strapped Dundalk, previous to that. Jordan Keegan claimed a brace to inch Mons closer to the Louth men. Indeed, Collins’s charges are now only three points behind Sean McCaffrey’s side.
When these sides met earlier in the season, they played out a taut 1-1 draw. Collins knows his side are in for something similar and will really be up against it given the ever –growing injury list that blights his squad. Aidan Collins, Robert Bayly, Shaun Maher, Jordan Keegan and Gareth O’ Connor are all out of action for the game.
Speaking midweek, Collins was optimistic despite the absentees. He said: “If we are to get a result against them we will have to be at our recent best. Unfortunately we still have a long injury list but thankfully whatever eleven I start, I know they will play out of their skins.”
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
Having started the 2012 season in impressive form, St Pat’s have stuttered more recently. They recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win over minnows Crumlin United in the FAI Ford Cup on Sunday but they have not claimed a league victory since the start of May.
That was a 2-0 win over Derry City but since then they’ve drawn twice and lost once in the league. While the results may not worry Liam Buckley in that his side remain third and only a point behind Shamrock Rovers, the quality of opposition is surely a concern.
Pat’s drew with Cork City and Bray Wanderers before going down to Dundalk 2-1 at home. All three of these clubs are currently in the lower half of the table – Dundalk look set for a relegation dogfight come October.
While form may be with Monaghan, Pat’s hold the edge in terms of able bodies with only James Chambers and Mark Rossiter out through injury. The former Bohemians’ midfielder remains out with the knee injury he picked up against Derry City while Chambers is likely to be sidelined for six to eight weeks, also with a knee injury.
Liam Buckley thinks his side could face a tough test on Friday night. “We’re expecting a tough game from Monaghan. They have had some great results lately so that just shows you how well they’re playing at the moment”, he said midweek.
“We’d a tough game against them earlier in the season in what turned out to be an exciting 1-1 draw, and it’s likely to be another good game up there. We’re looking to get the points as we really want to finish this part of the season on a high and go into the break.”
Referee: Dave McKeon.
This is the first meeting between these sides at Gortakeegan for 10 years. Last time out the Saints thumped Monaghan 4-0 with Ger McCarthy (2), Robbie Griffin and Philly Hughes all getting on the score sheet.
Rooted to the foot of the table, Monaghan United have the worst defensive record having conceded 24 goals from their opening 13 games. St Pat’s boast the second best with only nine goals conceded.
Monaghan’s win over Sligo Rovers in the Cup last time out was the Bit O Red’s first loss of the 2012 season. Indeed, before that Sligo hadn’t lost a competitive game at home since August 2011.
Monaghan United 6/1; Draw 11/4; St Patrick’s Athletic 1/2.
Despite contrasting form, St Pat’s should back to winning ways. 2-0 to the visitors.
Monaghan Injury News: Aidan Collins, Robert Bayly, Shaun Maher, Jordan Keegan, Gareth O’ Connor
Monaghan Suspension News: None.
St Patrick’s Injury News: Mark Rossiter and James Chambers.
St Patrick’s Suspension News: None.