Sligo Rovers will hope to edge a further three points closer to their third league title as they take on Dundalk in the third league game to take place in the Showgrounds this season on a Monday. Kick-off is 7.45pm.
The Bit O' Red will enter tomorrow night's game without the services of Danny North and Iarfhlaith Davoren, with both players missing the game through injury. North has recently had surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament tear which cruelly ended what was certain to be a record breaking season for the striker, and his recovery is now officially in full swing.
Davoren is also ruled out with an injury that could potentially see the left back ruled out until the beginning of next season. He'll be requiring a heel operation in a couple of weeks time.
Rovers have beaten Dundalk home and away already this season, and are unbeaten in eight games against the men from Oriel Park.
Ahead of the game, Rovers manager Ian Baraclough let it be known that he will not be underestimating the side who lie seven points adrift at the bottom of the table. "I was in Oriel Park on Friday and I’m not sure Dundalk deserved to lose. There was a contentious penalty decision and when you’re down the bottom sometimes things don’t go for you. They have some dangerous players and we’ll have to work very hard to get the result," said the manager.
“I think we want the games coming thick and fast now. We had a break on Friday while the other teams were in action so this is a match we’re looking forward to. There are just seven games left and obviously each game gets more and more important as the season winds down."
This really is a game of do or die proportions for the Lilywhites. After what looks to be a landmark defeat against UCD, they lie a massive seven points away from the Students. A win against the side who have earned three times as many points as the Lilywhites over the course of the season so far would not only bring the side from Louth into contention for survival, but would inspire the Lilywhites with confidence.
The man trusted with keeping the Lilywhites up, Darius Kierans, will be looking at his injury and suspension list and hoping that the rest of his depleted squad can get a positive result in the Showgrounds.
Both John Mountney and Mark O'Brien are suspended while the injury list is long and varied. Lorcan Shannon and Peter Thomas will miss the game with thigh injuries, Robbie Gaul will be out with a knee problem while Garreth Brady will sit it out as a result of his ankle. The great Oriel hope, Mark Griffin, is a doubt for the game with a groin problem.
“It will be a very difficult game in Sligo,” Darius Kierans said ahead of the game.“Sligo are in top form at the minute and they’re champions-elect, but we have nothing to lose"
He's well aware of the challenge that is ahead of him though. "Seven points is a big gap but you’re just hoping if you get that first win you can string them together, because we’re playing well and creating chances."
Referee: Tom Connolly.
No away team has kept a clean sheet in the Showgrounds in 24 games. The way the Dundalk defence has been leaking goals, the Bit O' Red are certainties to stick at least one past Peter Cherrie.
Dundalk have conceded more goals away from home than anyone else in the league conceding 25, while only scoring 11 goals away from home. For contrast, Sligo Rovers have only scored four more goals away from home, but conceded 17 less.
If Nathan Murphy starts for the Lilywhites, it will be his 50th league start.
Sligo Rovers 1/6; Draw 11/4; Dundalk 9/1.
Sligo Rovers 4-1 Dundalk.
Sligo Injury News: Danny North (Cruciate Ligament), Iarfhlaith Davoren (Heel).
Sligo Suspension News: None.
Dundalk Injury News: Lorcan Shannon (Thigh), Robbie Gaul (Knee), Garreth Brady (Ankle), Peter Thomas (Thigh) - Doubtful: Mark Griffin (Groin)
Dundalk Suspension News: John Mountney, Mark O’Brien.