Date: 8 p.m. April 8, 2011
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Ref: Derek Tomney
Att: 3,500 (est)
Scored: 6'- Danny O'Connor 6'
Their meeting with Bray will be Rovers' first game back at Tallaght for a couple of weeks, after a mini road trip that took in a hard fought stalemate at Derry and the trouncing of a hapless Drogheda United side last weekend.
Bray, meanwhile, have started the season in erratic form, ranging from decent wins away to St Pats and U.C.D to home defeats against Bohemians and Derry. Indeed, having so far failed to win at home in any competition this season, the Seagulls have reserved their best performances for the road.
Rovers had the upper hand in the corresponding fixture’s last season, winning both games at home and managing two draws at the Carlisle Grounds, the latter of which secured them the league title on the final night of the season. Gary Twigg grabbed three goals in the two home fixtures against the 'Seagulls' and with four league goals already this season he will be looking to be among the goals once again.
All in all Rovers have enjoyed good form against Bray in recent times and are unbeaten in their last six meetings.
However, Rovers boss Michael O'Neill will be without the injured Craig Sives for this game, while Chris Turner (calf) and Stephen O’Donnell (hamstring) will again face late fitness tests to determine if they can participate.
Bray have a relative catalogue of injures to worry about, with Joe Kendrick and Daire Doyle already ruled out. Gary Shaw is a new addition to the treatment table as he awaits an operation on a broken toe sustained in the E.A Sports Cup game against Drogheda while Chris Sheild's is also a doubt after leaving Belfield on crutches after playing U.C.D two weeks ago.
Speaking ahead of the game O’Neill said that he will be looking for a similar performance to the one that saw Rovers in such explosive form last time out against Drogheda. “I was very pleased with the performance and result in Drogheda last week, and I’ll be looking for much of the same against Bray. However, having said that, we are expecting a completely different test. I have seen Bray a few times this year, and they have done very well. They have had some very good results, especially away from home and that will give them confidence coming to Tallaght”
O’Neill acknowledged that Bray are a developing side and that Rovers will need to be at the top of their game to ensure Bray can’t impose themselves on the match. “They have a young side, with plenty of potential, so we’ll have to make sure we are at our best to get the win. I’ll be looking for a performance similar to Drogheda last week, where we played at a high tempo and were in the opposition half for most of the game.”
Bray Manager Pat Devlin knows the task his side face is a tough one but is confident they can give a good account of themselves. “It will be a tough assignment, they are one of the best sides in the country, if not the best. When I see their resources I am envious, but we will get on with it and give it a go". He added, "We are looking forward to it and I think we will do o.k."
Not many people will be giving Bray much chance on paper, and indeed the away side may prefer it this way, as all the pressure will be on Rovers to make it five wins from the opening six games of the season.
Injured: Craig Sives (hamstring).
Doubtful: Chris Turner (calf), Stephen O’Donnell (hamstring).
Injured: Joe Kendrick (thigh), Daire Doyle (hamstring), Gary Shaw (toe).
Doubtful: Chris Shield's (foot).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Paddy Power odds: Shamrock Rovers 1/3 - Draw 10/3 - Bray Wanderers 9/1.
extratime.ie prediction: Home win, 2-0.