Premier Division basement strugglers Bray Wanderers host fellow relegation candidates Limerick FC in a fascinating duel between the top tiers bottom duo at the Carlisle Grounds. (kick-off is at 7.45pm)
Sitting at the foot of the Premier Division after a far from ideal season, the Seagulls will be acutely aware that they can still mathematically catch Limerick who currently occupy the relegation playoff spot.
Under the stewardship of new Bray boss Gary Cronin, formerly the assistant to Neale Fenn, Tony Cousins and Alan Matthews at Longford Town, the Seagulls have failed to put an end to their wretched recent run of form as they have lost every competitive under Cronin’s tenure.
While we are still in the early days of Cronin’s tenure, the 39-year-old will certainly be hoping that he can get a result or two between now and the season as the Quinsborough Road outfit look destined for the drop to the First Division.
Should Bray grab a rare win, they have only won three league games all year, the Seagulls will go six points behind Limerick with just four games to play.
In terms of team news for Bray, they will of course be without long term injured players, Hugh Douglas and Andy McGovern.
Goalkeeper Evan Moran will also miss Friday’s crunch relegation clash with a head injury which was sustained during last week’s match against Waterford.
Darragh Noone and Jamie Crilly are both carrying knocks and face late fitness tests, while Dylan Hayes is in line to return to action having resumed full training this week.
For the second successive week, Tommy Barrett takes his youthful Limerick FC side to the east coast as his lowly Shannonsiders face fellow basement battlers Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.
Last week’s adventure to the East Coast was a chastening experience for Barrett and his confidence-shorn side as they fell to a rather demoralising 5-0 defeat away to Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium.
However, it was a much-changed Limerick that took to the field last time out in Dublin 24 as the Blues made no less than five changes from their home defeat against Dundalk the week previous in the FAI Cup Quarter-Final.
New signing Jack Brady made only his second appearance for the club in place of Tommy Holland while Shaun Kelly, Danny Morrissey and Billy Dennehy all came into the team in the place of Cian Coleman, Conor Ellis and Karl O’Sullivan.
That result had no major bearing on Limerick’s lowly position in the league table as the Blues’ relegation rivals Sligo and Bray both fell to defeats respectively.
The Shannonsiders have not released any team news at time of writing as they look to copper-fasten their tight grip on 9th place.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
This game will be a clash between the Premier Division’s two lowest scoring sides. Bray sit at the bottom of the attacking pile with only 19 goals to their name while Limerick only have a measly 22 goals themselves.
Limerick have held the upper hand over the Seagulls in recent history as Bray’s last win over their Munster counterparts came all the way back in 2015. Former Bohemians cult-hero Dave Scully scored a last-gasp winner for the Quinsborough Road side on that occasion.
Bray have the least number of wins so far this season in the Premier Division with only four wins to their name. Those successes came against the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Derry City, St Pat’s and most recently, Sligo Rovers.
Limerick on the other hand have won three away games all year.
Bray Wanderers 15/8; Draw 11/5; Limerick FC 11/8.
Bray Wanderers 2-1 Limerick
Injured: Hugh Douglas, Andrew McGovern, Evan Moran.
Doubtful: Darragh Noone, Jamie Crilly.