Drogheda United -v- Sligo RoversThu, May 03 2012
Last week’s 1-1 draw with UCD saw the Drogs extend their unbeaten run to eight games in the Airtricity Premier Division. The Boynesiders’ only defeat this term was back on the opening night against Shamrock Rovers who they will leapfrog if they take win and the reigning champions slip up.
Drogheda’s impressive run sees them currently sitting in joint second spot and they are quickly becoming one of the most prolific sides in the league with 15 goals from nine games – only Shamrock Rovers have scored more with 22.
Mick Cooke’s men could only manage a draw last time out against the Students but the manager believes it was a hard earned and valuable point. Speaking midweek, Cooke said: “I think a lot of people were shocked with the result last week, but I firmly believe it was a credible point. UCD are no pushovers at home and they really used that big pitch of theirs.”
On the injury front, there are doubts over Gavin Brennan, while Paul Crowley will undergo a late fitness test.
Looking forward to the game, Cooke said: “It's going to be tough on Friday night for a number of reasons. For one, we are facing Sligo Rovers and also, if we get three points we could potentially be top of the table. That brings a whole new pressure with it.
The Bit o’ Red are one better than Drogheda in that they remain unbeaten this season and sit proudly at the top of the table, three points clear of Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda United. Indeed the Drogs would need to beat Sligo by two goals or more to wrestle them off top-spot.
This seems unlikely considering Sligo have the second best defence in the league, having conceded only five goals in nine games.
They eked out a 1-1 draw last time out when they hosted St Patrick’s Athletic and will no doubt be bristling with confidence and keen to get back to winning ways. However they are not helped in this regard with news that defenders Jason McGuinness and Alan Keane along with Joey Ndo are all doubts for the game.
McGuinness strained his back in training during the week while Keane is struggling with a hamstring injury, and Ndo still has that knee complaint that kept him out of the draw with Pat’s.
Speaking during the week, Sligo boss Ian Baraclough indicated a draw would be a good return for his side.
He said: “We have to be right. Our away form has been good and maybe it gives us more freedom when you go away from home. I expect a physical match and I expect us to be up to it. I look on things on a monthly basis and in April we had two away wins and home draws with St Pat’s and Derry. Averaging two points from each game is a good return.
With two in-form sides this one could be a cracker. Both sides possess plenty of attacking threat and with tight defences a high-scoring draw could certainly be on the cards.
Referee: Damien Hancock
Sligo Rovers lorded it over Drogheda last season. The Bit o’ Red won all four league games between the sides registering two 2-0 home wins and beating the Drogs away 3-0 on both occasions.
Despite Sligo’s dominance in terms of points obtained this year, Drogheda are edging things on the goal scoring front. They’ve already found the back of the net 15 times this season with the returning Declan O’Brien leading the charge with four goals.
Drogheda and Sligo have looked very impressive on the road this season having both won three and drawn just the one.
Drogheda United 3/1 Draw 9/4 Sligo Rovers 10/11
Drogheda United Injury News: Gavin Brennan and Paul Crowley (both doubts).
Drogheda United Suspensions: None.
Sligo Rovers Injury News: Jason McGuinness, Alan Keane and Joseph Ndo (all doubts).
Sligo Rovers Suspensions: None.
Sam joined Extratime for the 2011 season and is now the site's features editor. He is based in Dublin and covers all the clubs in the capital. He is also prone to the odd Drogheda game. If you would like to contact Sam, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.