Derry City welcome UCD to the Brandywell in Friday’s only Premier Division game looking to continue in a rich vein of form (kick-off 7.45pm).
Declan Devine’s side made it six games undefeated last Friday when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by the champions Dundalk.
The Candystripes led early through David Parkhouse before Georgie Kelly levelled, and Dundalk looked to have sealed it in the last minute when Patrick Hoban struck.
There was still time for more drama, however, as Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe volleyed home Jamie McDonagh’s corner to snatch a point in the fifth minute of injury time.
Devine will also have some insider knowledge ahead of the Students’ visit as he signed striker Conor Davis from Collie O’Neill’s side earlier in the window.
"It's another big game for us and another step in the building process at the club,” Devine told the club’s official website.
“We have prepared hard as always because we can't get ahead of ourselves. We aren't yet in the habit of winning trophies so hard work very much remains the key here."
"UCD will be up for the game, make no mistake about that. Collie has done an amazing job in developing players and I think he had four in Stephen Kenny's last under-21 squad.
"Obviously they have lost several very good players, including to ourselves, but they will be very dangerous on Friday night and will be given maximum respect."
Darren Cole returns to the squad from injury but Patrick McClean and Michael McCrudden remain long-term absentees and Eoin Toal is suspended.
UCD could use one of their three games in hand on Finn Harps to climb off the bottom of the table at Harps’ expense, should they avoid defeat in Derry.
Collie O’Neill admitted defeat at home to Harps last week would have been ‘the nail in the coffin’ of their Premier Division future as it would have left them seven points behind.
The Students had been on a rotten run of form with 12 league defeats on the bounce and only one goal to show for themselves.
With captain Gary O’Neill, Neil Farrugia and Conor Davis all departed and Liam Scales likely to go, a young side with two full debutants recorded a vital 1-0 win.
Jason McClelland’s timely first goal of the season, and a determined defensive effort, sealed a morale-boosting win that changes the complexion of the relegation fight.
“I do think if we had’ve lost it would have been the nail in the coffin because of the big gap to claw back,” O’Neill told extratime.ie.
“Now, being just the one point gives us a little bit of hope and something to try build towards.
“[Young players] are going to make mistakes but I can’t fault their attitude, their commitment or how they went about their business.
“If they show that in each of their games between now and the end of the season I won’t have any complaints.”
O’Neill has been boosted by the signing of Jack Keaney from Sligo Rovers, and he made his debut in Wednesday’s friendly against Portsmouth.
Conor Kearns and Yoyo Mahdy both came off with knocks but are expected to be fit, while Dara Keane, Jack Ryan and Aaron McGrath all return to contention.
Josh Collins will be out for some time with a groin injury, however, and Sean McDonald is also short of fitness, while Evan Osam is out for the season.
Referee: John McLoughlin.
Derry City and UCD have met twice so far this season, their first league clashes since the Students were relegated in 2014.
Goals from David Parkhouse and Eoghan Stokes, and an own goal from Liam Scales, saw Derry to a 3-0 win at the Brandywell on the opening day of the season.
The return game also went the Candystripes’ way with goals in either half from ex-Student Greg Sloggett and Darren Cole.
Derry City 1/9; Draw 15/2; UCD 20/1.
Derry City 2 – 0 UCD
Injured: Patrick McClean, Michael McCrudden.
Suspended: Eoin Toal.
Injured: Josh Collins, Sean McDonald, Evan Osam.