Shelbourne will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the table above UCD to five points as they welcome the Students to Tolka Park on Friday night (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Reds come into the game having seen past the stiff challenge of Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park last weekend.
Ian Morris’ side had to come from behind to earn three points, with Ryan Brennan heading home Kevin O’Connor’s cross with ten minutes to play.
The win saw them leapfrog UCD after the Students drew 0-0 with Cork City at the UCD Bowl.
“UCD always play a certain way and the way they operate with college and scholarships, they always attract that top young talent,” Morris told his club’s media team ahead of Friday night’s game.
“I watched them last week there and they look good all over the pitch. They’ve had a little bit of disruption in their camp with Ian Ryan leaving and taking over at Wexford so that adds an extra angle to the game.
“It’s going to be a fantastic game, but we need to keep pushing and pushing and play the way we want to play.
“There’s a chance here to put a bit of distance there at the top. This is why we play football, for games like this.”
In terms of team news, Shels welcome back Michael O’Connor after suspension, while Denzil Fernandes may return after a broken nose. Gerardo Bruna remains a long-term absentee.
After dropping points at home to Cork City last weekend, UCD make the trip to Tolka Park hoping to stay in touch with the league leaders after the first round of games.
The Students find themselves two points behind Shels in the table – but they are unbeaten so far this season, as are Shelbourne.
Ahead of their first visit to Tolka since April 2019, a game that they won thanks to a late Timmy Molloy winner in the EA Sports Cup, their manager Andy Myler is looking forward to the task on hand.
“We’ll go to Shels to try and win, as we do every other week. Shels are unbeaten as well, but we’ll just try and keep the good performances going.
“We’re comfortable with how we’re going and playing. There’s a good competition around the squad to get into the team at the moment.
“All of that is positive for us going forward – and if we get the performance again, we won’t mind too much about the result – that’s how we work.”
Referee: Gavin Colfer.
UCD’s Colm Whelan has been involved in 10 of UCD’s 21 goals so far this season, scoring 8 and assisting 2.
Ian Morris’ Shelbourne have only conceded one goal from play in their last three league outings, with Cobh Ramblers opener at home to the Reds being the only time Shels have been breached from play since their 3-1 win away to Cabinteely.
Both UCD and Shelbourne top the charts for goals scored and expected goals so far this season. UCD have netted 21 goals, while Shels have scored 15. In terms of Expected Goals, Shelbourne have 16.53 while UCD have 14.99.
Shelbourne 20/23; Draw 21/10; UCD 3/1.
Shelbourne 1 - 2 UCD
Injured: Gerardo Bruna.
Doubtful: Denzil Fernandes.