The Hoops are seeking their fourth win over Waterford this season when the Blues come to Tallaght on Tuesday evening (kick off 8pm).
With the gap to league leaders Dundalk seven points, and the champions having an additional game in hand, Shamrock Rovers are more interested in the three points to cement their runners up spot in the league. A victory on Tuesday would leave them a dozen points clear of third placed Bohemians with seven games remaining – with the Gypsies set to visit Tallaght on Friday.
Rovers come into this re-arranged league fixture with the Blues unbeaten in their last eight domestic games with four wins in a row including last Friday’s 4-0 FAI Cup win over Drogheda United.
"It was a really good win,” said Bradley about his side’s home victory over the Drogs that has set up a quarter-final clash away to Galway United. “I felt we played well especially in the second half, got four goals and kept a clean sheet so it was a good night.”
Having been held scoreless by United in the first half, the Hoops hit four unanswered goals in the second half. “It was a good header by Gary (O’Neill). He attacked the ball really well from a great delivery from Jack Byrne.
Aaron Greene added the second when he followed up on a free kick from Graham Burke that former Rovers underage goalkeeper Luca Gratzer couldn’t hold on to.
“The second goal was good from Aaron Greene. He didn't just stand and watch the free kick. When it's hit you could see he's on his way and it's a very calm finish. The most important thing is that you're in there, you're in those positions and Aaron has been.
"His all-around game has been excellent and he's getting the goals so hopefully that continues between now and the end of the season.”
Greene has hit a rich vein of goalscoring form scoring six goals in his last eight games having started just five of those matches. Jack Byrne got two cracking goals in the RSC when the sides last met and he added to his assist tally last Friday getting his 12th of the campaign.
“Aaron McEneff made a really good run for his goal (to make it 3-0). Once he's in and around the box he's very dangerous and it was a good finish. The Sean Kavanagh goal started with Alan Mannus. We kept the ball for a long period of the time, moved it around and it ended up with Sean getting in at the back post. It was a really good goal."
It will be a quick three day turnaround for the Hoops after this Waterford game before they face Bohs in Tallaght on Friday. Rovers have an awful recent record against the Gypsies, drawing just one and losing the other seven games from the last eight Dublin derbies.
“We'll just concentrate on Waterford, our schedule has been like this for the last two months. The players have coped with it really well. Even though we won well out there recently (in the RSC) we have to recognise that Waterford had some chances in that game and we need to make sure that we're ready for the best Waterford there is.”
The Blues travel to Tallaght buoyed by their 2-0 win against Glengad United in the FAI Cup second round.
Waterford’s reward for their victory in Donegal last weekend is a quarter-final tie against last season’s double winners with Dundalk set to be welcomed to the RSC in the next round.
The goals in the cup came in the last 20 minutes from former Rovers player Michael O’Connor and from Cory Galvin who slotted home a great strike when the Blues played Rovers earlier this month.
“Saturday in Donegal was always going to be a tricky one,” said Alan Reynolds, “but we were patient like we knew we’d need to be and deservedly got the win and look forward to the next round.
“The games keep coming but we need to keep focus on the next one, we can’t look ahead to the weekend yet and we’ll be looking to put in a good performance on Tuesday.”
Waterford sit eigth in the table on 27 points four points clear of Finn Harps who sit ninth and in the relegation play-off place.
The Blues have two games in hand over Harps and so will be keen to at least get a point in Tallaght on Tuesday to move further clear of the Donegal men.
“Shamrock Rovers is another big challenge after the long trip on Saturday but we’re looking forward to it. They’re trying to win the league so we have to try match them on the pitch, work hard, not give away sloppy goals and look to make some chances.
“We know we’ll have plenty of support there too and that’ll help us. We’ll switch things around again after the weekend and give lads a chance to impress.”
Referee: Rob Rogers
Rovers have won all three ties against Waterford this season. The first two were both by a 2-1 scoreline, with the last victory a comprehensive 5-2 win in the RSC.
In the last eight matches between the sides, Rovers have six victories, drawn one with just one win for Waterford (a 2-1 win in the RSC in March 2018).
Aaron Green is top scorer in the league for Rovers with ten goals. Aaron Drinan remains Waterford’s top scorer with seven despite his departure for GAIS Goteborg who play in the second tier of the Swedish league.
Shamrock Rovers 1/7; Draw 5/1; Waterford 14/1.
2-0 home win for the Hoops
Injured: Neil Farrugia
Doubtful: Joey O’Brien
Suspended: Ronan Finn
Injured: Dean Walsh, Zack Elbouzedi, Rory Feely, Kenny Browne