UCD -v- DundalkThu, Jun 21 2012
Having fallen to the bottom of the table following the demise of Monaghan United, UCD will be hoping to set the record straight as they go in search of a victory over the nearest team to them in the table. The Students had been above Dundalk until Monaghan United’s results were expunged and their points loss sees them prop up the table going into the second half of the season.
UCD will be hoping to get back to winning ways having been beaten on their last outing before the break by Bray Wanderers. The Students produced one of the shock results of the season so far when they beat Sligo Rovers in the middle of May and they will be hoping for another performance of that calibre on Friday evening.
A win will lift the students off the bottom of the table over the Lilywhites. UCD will be hoping to take victory against Dundalk without the services of goalkeeper Ger Barron who is absent through a foot injury, defender Sean Russell who has a back problem and striker Graham Rusk, who scored UCD’s goal in the sides last meeting at Oriel Park in March, has a knee problem. Daniel Ledwith is suspended also.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Martin Russell is looking forward to the resumption of the season and is hoping to gain revenge for the defeat they suffered against their opponents three months ago.
“We are looking forward to the resumption of the league, we are always looking to continue the development of our young players and that obviously starts against Dundalk.
“They have already beaten us once this season and will be looking to reverse that scoreline.”
Having benefited from the demise of Monaghan United, Dundalk will be hoping to press home that advantage and take victory at the Bowl on Friday evening. The Lilywhites hadn’t been in the greatest of form before the break having only picked up one win in eight and only two wins since they beat UCD in March. The cloud of financial difficulty is still hanging over the Louth club and they will be hoping that things get better in the second half of the season.
Their last win was against St. Patrick’s Athletic when they incidentally sprung a surprise on the same night as their opponents
did the same thing when they beat Sligo Rovers. They were the better team for long periods in the Louth derby against Drogheda United three weeks ago and were very unfortunate not to get anything from it.
On the field, the break has meant that some of the squad’s lingering injury worries have improved. Luke Danville’s ankle problem has fully healed and he is in line to make his first appearance since April.
Eoghan Osborne has recovered from injury while Liam Burns has made a full recovery from an ear infection. Ben McLaughlin is rated as 50/50 with a groin injury while midfielder Stephen McDonnell and Michael Rafter miss out due to suspension.
Speaking to The Argus ahead of the match assistant manager Darius Kierans knows that Monaghan United’s demise has favoured them and he is hopeful the Lilywhites will take full advantage and he is looking forward to the return to action, proclaiming the match as the most important of the season.
“We came out best of all because they had taken four points off us and it’s up to us to let that advantage slip.
“If we were to win we are back in the mix in terms of other clubs and it puts distance between ourselves and UCD which is important because they tend to finish the season very strong. Friday is a massive game for us, the biggest of the season so far.”
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
In the four meetings between the sides at the Belfield Bowl, the results are split with UCD gaining two wins and Dundalk with two wins.
UCD won the last meeting at the Bowl, 3-0 last September.
Overall in the nine meetings in the past two years, Dundalk have had the upper hand with four wins, UCD two and there was the solitary draw which finished 1-1 at Oriel Park in August 2010.
Dundalk have gained more points away from home than they have at home with seven, while UCD have gained more points at home than away also seven.
There hasn’t been a 0-0 draw between the sides since January 1999.
UCD-evens Draw-12/5 Dundalk- 5/2
While both teams are pretty similar, UCD’s home advantage should tilt this one in their favour of a narrow win. 2-1 to the hosts.
UCD Injury News: Ger Barron, Sean Russell and Graham Rusk.
UCD Suspension News: Daniel Ledwith
Dundalk Injury News: Ben McLaughlin(doubtful)
Dundalk Suspension News: Stephen McDonnell, Michael Rafter (it’s not on the suspension list but Sean McCaffrey said this is the second match of his suspension)]
Unavailable: Hernany Macedo.