Sunday 21 January 2018

League of Ireland Previews

Bray WDs v Bohemians

(Carlisle Grounds, 7.45)

Betting: Bray 2/1 Bohs 13/10 Draw 11/5

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: Gary Shaw, Stephen Brennan and Derek Prendergast are missing for the hosts, but newcomer Joe Kendrick will play . Bohs boss Pat Fenlon is banned and midfielder Robert Bayly is suspended. Mark Rossiter should return but Liam Burns needs a few more days. Teenager Craig Sexton is the only available 'keeper with Chris O'Connor and Barry Murphy sidelined.

Talking point: What lies in store for Bohs? Fenlon has cobbled a squad together at relatively short notice, suggesting they will be a work in progress.

Verdict: Draw.

Derry City v Sligo Rovers

(Brandywell, 7.45)

Betting: Derry 15/8 Sligo 11/8 Draw 11/5

Referee: D Hancock (Dublin)

Team news: Stephen Kenny is without midfielders Kevin Deery and James McClean while Stephen McLaughlin's participation is in the balance. Sligo boss Paul Cook has a fully fit squad. Returning favourite Raffaele Cretaro and new signings Jason McGuinness, Brendan Clarke, Aaron Green and Alan Kirby should all feature.

Talking point: Premier football returns to Derry, and the Candystripes' young guns will learn if they are ready for the test against a Sligo Rovers side with realistic title aspirations.

Verdict: Draw.

Drogheda United v UCD

(United Park, 7.45)

Betting: Drogheda 10/3 UCD 5/6 Draw 9/4

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin)

Team news: New Drogs boss Mick Cooke has brought Alan McNally and John Lester in to bolster the youthful squad he inherited. UCD's Sean Harding has recovered from a shoulder strain, but Robbie Benson is short of match practice. New signings Yael Haro and Dean Marshall are in line to make their debuts.

Talking point: Less than a week after his appointment, can Mick Cooke galvanise a Drogheda squad that looks to be more of a First Division gathering than a group of top flight quality?

Verdict: Away win.

Galway Utd v St Pat's Ath

(Terryland Park, 7.45)

Betting: Galway 7/2 St Pat's 8/11 Draw 5/2

Referee: P Sutton (Clare)

Team news: Sean Connor yesterday confirmed the signings of Scottish goalkeeper Greg Fleming and free agents Shaun Maher, Sean Kelly, Bobby Ryan and Brian Cash. Steve Feeney and Enda Curran are doubts. Saints trio Stephen Bradley, Paul Crowley and Danny North are suspended, but Daryl Kavanagh and Ian Bermingham are winning fitness battles.

Talking point: Will the crowds come out to support a new era at Galway? The locals are up against it here, with St Pat's having the benefit of two Setanta Cup games.

Verdict: Away win.

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Tallaght, 7.35 *Live RTE2)

Betting: Shamrock Rvrs 7/10 Dundalk 4/1 Draw 12/5

Referee: A Kelly (Cork)

Team news: Hoops defender Craig Sives is a doubt with a hamstring problem, while Ciaran Kilduff and Stephen O'Donnell are suspended. Visiting boss Ian Foster has a clean bill of health.

Talking point: Much interest will surround the identity of Michael O'Neill's starting XI, with the title-winning boss having a wealth of options to choose from. They will face a difficult test here, with Dundalk sure to have benefited from their Setanta Cup victory over Linfield.

Verdict: Draw.

Irish Independent

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