Shamrock Rovers will look to extend their seven-point lead at the top of the Premier Division table when they welcome UCD to Tallaght Stadium (kick-off 8pm).
The Hoops were involved in the only Premier Division game to go ahead last week as Greg Bolger’s goal five minutes from time earned all three points away to Finn Harps.
Stephen Bradley had opted not to request a postponement despite losing Jack Byrne, Trevor Clarke and Brandon Kavanagh to international call-ups and it paid off, just.
“We’ve actually seen a lot of UCD because we’ve had all the teams we’re playing next watched and UCD have followed their programme,” Bradley told the club’s website.
“I know they just got their first win but I think they’ve been excellent and very unlucky in a lot of games.
“They’ve played really good football and they have a really good bunch of players under Collie, who I know will want them to come and play no differently tomorrow night.
“I believe it will be one of our toughest games to date this year. They have [Neil] Farrugia, and [Jason] McClelland who was here when I was with the 19s.
“Although they’re down near the bottom now I don’t see UCD down there come the end of the year.
“We need to respect that UCD are a good side. Other than Dundalk at home it’ll probably be our toughest game in Tallaght because of the way they play.”
Ethan Boyle remains out with a hamstring strain, while Joey O’Brien, Clarke and Dan Carr have all picked up knocks, Clarke’s having kept him out of the Ireland under-21s game with Luxembourg.
UCD will look to make it back-to-back wins after picking up their first three points of the season, also against Finn Harps, two weeks ago.
Last week’s scheduled meeting with Cork City was postponed after Neil Farrugia and Liam Scales were called up to the Ireland under-21 squad.
Farrugia scored one and set one up in that game, while Scales was an unused substitute, and both players will look to take confidence from that back into their clubs.
“We played very well against Finn Harps,” manager Collie O’Neill told the club’s media team.
“We created plenty of chances, and managed to keep a clean sheet also. It’s important now that we look to build on that now and push on over the coming weeks.
“And if we play the way we know we can we certainly believe we can come away with a result.”
“It’s going to be tough on Friday night. Shamrock Rovers are flying, playing some great football.
“They are top of the league and they’ll certainly get a big crowd which will get behind them.”
Evan Osam will miss out on a return to his former club with a ruptured achilles that will keep him out for the season.
Paul Doyle is available after recovering from an ankle injury but the game may come too early for Conor Davis, who has missed the past couple of weeks with a knee injury.
Referee: John McLoughlin.
This is the sides’ first competitive meeting since UCD were last in the Premier Division, in 2014.
Rovers won all three meetings that season without conceding a goal, concluding with a 3-0 win courtesy of goals from Ryan Brennan, Sean O’Connor and Gary McCabe.
Of the sides that played that day, only unused substitutes Dan Tobin of UCD and Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers remain.
Shamrock Rovers 1/4; Draw 4/1; UCD 11/1.
Shamrock Rovers 2 – 1 UCD
Injured: Ethan Boyle (hamstring).
Doubtful: Dan Carr, Trevor Clarke, Joey O’Brien.
Injured: Evan Osam (achilles).
Doubtful: Conor Davis (knee).