League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- UCD
League leaders Shamrock Rovers welcome UCD to Tallaght Stadium on Friday night as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table (kick-off is at 8pm).
The Hoops head into the game four points clear at the top of the Premier Division – and could stretch that gap if Derry City or St Patrick’s Athletic drop points against Bohemians or Drogheda United respectively.
As well as their boost at the top of the pile, Rovers have also welcomed back a host of key players to the fold.
Against UCD, Simon Power and Liam Burt are set to return – while the prognosis on Alan Mannus’ absence has improved significantly.
The experienced keeper is expected to return after the summer break – but their boss Stephen Bradley is keen for his side to not take UCD’s visit to Dublin 24 for granted.
“I think they'll enjoy coming to Tallaght with the big pitch,” he said.
“They have young players that play with no fear. We saw that out in UCD [in May], that they have a good crop of young players.
“Tallaght is the perfect pitch so I think they'll come with no fear and have a go at us.”
Cut adrift at the bottom, UCD visit Tallaght Stadium in a bid to arrest their losing streak as soon as possible.
The Students last win came against Cork almost two months ago – and they are now 14 points behind 9th placed Drogheda United.
But their boss Andy Myler insists that his side will fight to the bitter end no matter what this season.
“There are no easy games as we are finding out this year,” Myler told LOI TV. “We are running on fumes a little bit and Ciaran Behan got an injury (against Dundalk).
“That will probably be long-term so that is tough. We are having to patch up bodies and get them onto the pitch.
“It is what it is and we need to stick together. If nothing else, we want to perform in every game.
“If there’s a way to lose, there is a way to lose and if there is a way to be relegated, there is a way to be. But we need to keep at it for the rest of the season.”
Referee: David Dunne.
Shamrock Rovers have won their last 14 games on the spin against UCD – and their last defeat against the Students arrived in April 2013 when UCD won 2-0 at the Belfield Bowl.
The Students have the worst attacking and defensive records in the Premier Division this season.
Andy Myler’s side have coughed up 45 goals and have scored a measly 11 in 19 games. However, they have at least scored in each of their last three outings.
Leaders Shamrock Rovers have won to nil in each of their last four matches against UCD at Tallaght Stadium – with Yoyo Mahdy the last UCD player to score against Rovers in Dublin 24.
Shamrock Rovers 4-0 UCD
Injured: Alan Mannus.
Doubtful: Dylan Watts, Daniel Cleary.
Suspended: Richie Towell.
Injured: Mark Dignam, Ciaran Behan.
Doubtful: Dara Keane.