They were also close to pulling off a shock victory at home to Bohs a few short weeks ago, and although beaten by St. Pat's in Richmond Park, Martin Russell can feel more than pleased with how his troops have performed thus far.
Rovers have had a difficult start to the season, gathering just one point from their opening three games, but that vital win in Terryland Park last Friday night may well kick-start the season for them.
They will once again be without instrumental duo Gary Twigg and Dessie Baker, currently out with a calf injury and broken arm respectively. Joining them on the injury list will be Pat Sullivan and Stephen Bradley with serious doubts over Pat Flynn, Paddy Kavanagh and Danny Murphy.
Chris Turner is suspended, but James Chambers will return from a similar ban, while Thomas Stewart is a new addition to the squad. Michael O'Neill admitted that their growing list of absentees is a major concern, but is glad to have secured the services of Thomas Stewart.
“Our injury list is pretty horrific, to be honest. We knew we’d be missing a few players due to suspensions, but the casualties are mounting. We’ve had Twiggy and Dessie out for a while, the extent of Pat Sullivan’s knee injury has yet to be confirmed but we fear the worst, and Stephen Bradley broke his wrist against Dundalk”, O' Neill told the Shamrock Rovers website.
“Pat Flynn is extremely doubtful with a groin injury, while we’re hopeful that Paddy and Danny will be okay. On the positive side we’ve now got Thomas Stewart signed.”
Looking ahead to the visit of UCD, O'Neill stated that he expects UCD to come out and play, rather than sit back and try to defend from deep. “They’ve had a good start with the season. They’ve won two games and pushed Bohs hard. If the weather’s okay on Friday we could have a really good game. We know that UCD like to play football, and so do we. I think they’ll enjoy coming to Tallaght and will play without fear. Our confidence is growing and we want to build on the win in Galway”, O'Neill added.
UCD also have a few injury problems of their own with Paul Corry not quite ready to return to action, and former Rovers man Chris Mulhall doubtful with a dead leg. Stephen Roche has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the win against Bray Wanderers, while goalkeeper Ger Barron is fit for the first time this season.
Mulhall isn't the only former Hoops man in the UCD squad though, as star striker Ciaran Kilduff is also a former member of the South Dublin side.
“I’m a UCD player now and my aim is to do well for them and score goals, whoever I’m against”, ex-Rovers player Kilduff told the UCD website. With Rovers' confidence beginning to return following their win last week, they may just shade this one.
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Referee: R. Winter
Paddypower.com odds: Shamrock Rovers 8/13, UCD 9/2, Draw 9/4.
Injuries: Gary Twigg, Dessie Baker, Pat Sullivan, Stephen Bradley.
Doubtful: Paddy Kavanagh, Danny Murphy, Pat Flynn.
Suspended: Chris Turner
UCD Injuries: Paul Corry
Doubtful: Chris Mulhall
Extratime.ie prediction: Shamrock Rovers 1-0 UCD.