Hoping to shake off their recent malaise, Shelbourne will look to all but confirm their promotion playoff spot with a big win over playoff rivals Longford Town at Tolka Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
After losing their unbeaten home record against Drogheda United last time out thanks to a spectacular Sean Brennan free-kick, Shels picked themselves up to secure a credible 0-0 draw away to Finn Harps last time out.
While remaining unbeaten at home for the early stages of the season, Shelbourne have struggled in recent weeks at the Richmond Road venue.
Wins have been hard to come by so far over the last few weeks for Owen Heary’s side as the Reds have only won two home games since April 20.
Despite this, Shelbourne have certainly kept up the intensity of their promotion push with some dogged and resolute defensive displays against the best sides in the First Division since their opening day defeat to UCD at the Belfield Bowl.
Shelbourne have also strengthened their ranks in the mid-season transfer window with many astute signings.
John Ross Wilson, who joined from Bohemians, has settled in quite well alongside Greg Moorhouse, who has come into replace the recently-departed Jamie Doyle.
With such a big game in prospect at Tolka Park come Friday night, it is expected that Heary and his backroom team will use his tried and trusted measure of attacking quickly from defensive positions.
While that has struggled to pay dividends in recent weeks, this tactic could perhaps be the difference against an inconsistent Longford Town side at the Richmond Road venue.
The Reds will have to make do without Derek Prendergast and Alan Byrne, who are both serving a suspension, while midfielder Mark Hughes is a doubt for the game.
Hoping to right the wrongs of their heartbreaking defeat at Tolka Park last time out, Longford will look to serve up some sweet revenge at the home of Shelbourne on Friday night.
After dominating the game at Tolka Park for vast swathes of the game in March, Town were left to rue their inexperience and naivety when they fell to a late, late defeat against the Reds in front of a fervent home crowd.
To rub salt in the wounds, former Longford hero David O’Sullivan grabbed a hat-trick to seal the deal for his new club in the final minute.
Since then, Town have found, then lost, and then found that all important consistency once again as they try to catapult themselves back into the promotion race after poor results against Cobh Ramblers and Finn Harps in recent weeks.
Last week Neale Fenn’s side secured a morale-boosting 3-0 win against Wexford at City Calling as the ever-impressive Dylan McGlade scored twice to secure a routine win for the Red and Black.
Following their win over Wexford, it was revealed that the trio of Craig Walsh, Alan Kehoe and Cian Byrne have both left the club due to work commitments.
With time running out in the transfer window, it is unlikely that any more new faces will come through the dressing room at the City Calling Stadium.
In terms of team news for De Town, Chris Mulhall, Peter Hopkins and Dean Byrne all miss out through injury.
Referee: John McLoughlin.
Shelbourne and Longford Town have played out their fair share of classics throughout the years.
In the last nine seasons, the pair have seen over 3.5 goals scored in seven games. The last of those came in March when Shels edged out De Town by 3-2 Tolka Park.
David O’Sullivan, Shelbourne’s leading goalscorer with 13 goals this season, is Longford’s all-time leading goalscorer with 82 goals to his name during his five-year stint atCity Calling Stadium.
Shelbourne are the only top six side yet to suffer a defeat against Longford Town so far this season as Neale Fenn’s charges have only picked up one point from a possible six against the Reds thus far.
Shelbourne 11/10; Draw 23/10; Longford Town 15/8.
Shelbourne 1-1 Longford Town
Doubtful: Mark Hughes.
Suspended: Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast.
Injured: Chris Mulhall, Peter Hopkins, Dean Byrne.