Gary Cronin’s Bray Wanderers will be looking to kickstart their stop-start 2021 season when they welcome title favourites to the Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening (kick-off is at 7.30pm).
The Seagulls come into the game having lost their last game before the break by two goals to nil away to Treaty United.
But it was only late on when Bray were undone as goals from William Armshaw and Mark Byrne (OG) proved to be their downfall.
The result sees them stay outside of the First Division Playoff positions – a point behind fifth placed Cabinteely.
It was just their second defeat of the season – and their first away from home – leaving them ten points behind Shelbourne.
They do in fact have the joint-best defensive record in the second-tier, along with Shels, having only conceded 9 goals.
But should they look to close the gap on Shels, they will have to do it without the services of Darragh Lynch and Sean Callan who are injured.
Ian Morris’ title-chasing Shelbourne visit an improving Bray Wanderers looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the 2021 season.
It was against Bray that Shels were breached three times earlier this season, and they have yet to concede as many in a game since.
The Reds have won their last four league games in a row – and their manager Ian Morris is hoping that they can continue their good run after the mid-season break.
“It’s really important that we keep the momentum we’ve had from the start and keep the tempo that we have had recently,” he told his club’s media team.
“The first ten games don’t count for much if we don’t do that, but we have prepared well for Friday.”
He was adamant that Bray’s position in the league is “a false position”, adding: “Every game they have had has been on a knife-edge decided by the odd kick of a ball so it’s important that we’ve prepared right and approach the game in the right way.”
Shelbourne however do come into the game with two absentees as Gerardo Bruna and Denzil Fernandes remain out.
Referee: Alan Patchell.
Shelbourne are yet to taste defeat in the 2021 edition of the First Division, and their unbeaten record in the second tier stretches back to August 2019 when they fell to defeat away to Cobh Ramblers during their march to the First Division title.
Bray have the joint-best defensive record in the First Division this season – along with Shelbourne – only conceding 9 goals. But the Seagulls have only scored 11 compared to Shels’ 22.
Gary Cronin’s side have won three of their last four league games, while Shelbourne have won their last four on the bounce.
Bray Wanderers 2/1; Draw 5/2; Shelbourne 21/20.
Bray Wanderers 0 - 2 Shelbourne
Injured: Darragh Lynch, Sean Callan.
Injured: Gerardo Bruna, Denzil Fernandes.