Shelbourne -v- Derry CityThu, Aug 30 2012
Shelbourne will be hoping for another positive result after winning their last home game against Cherry Orchard in the FAI Cup, when they welcome Derry City to Tolka Park on Friday evening.
Shels form has been patchy in recent months with only three wins from their last 10 competitive games. Three points on Friday night would put Shels above Derry in the league table, Derry presently lead the Reds by a point although they also have a game in hand on the Drumcondra side.
The last two league meetings of these sides resulted in 1-0 victories for Shelbourne on both occasions. Shelbourne manager, Alan Mathews is confident that his team can achieve another positive result. “We know that once again we will have to produce a top performance to win the game, but we have the players to do it and once we work hard for the duration of the game, we can get the right result.”
Stephen Paisley and top-scorer Philly Gorman are both doubtful for Shelbourne, but those players apart, Mathews will have a full complement to pick from.
As well as qualifying for the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup, Derry City lie fifth in the league. This does not represent a bad return for what has been considered a difficult first season in charge for Declan Devine. Their last league game was a scoreless draw with Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Ground, which they followed up with a 1-0 victory against UCD in the FAI Cup at the Belfield Bowl. Given their two league losses to Shels already this season, City will be keen to extend their unbeaten run on their travels.
The Candystripes are nine points behind fourth place Shamrock Rovers, with 27 points from 21 games. Although a fourth place finish is highly unlikely, Derry manager, Declan Devine, will be keen to cement fifth place and fend off the challenge of both Shelbourne and Bohemians.
Devine will be without suspended Stewart Greacen for the game, while Owen Morrison and Stephen McLaughlin are also struggling to be fit. On a more positive note, Dermot McCaffrey and Patrick McEleney may return. McEleney has been injured for the past month but could now replace Morrison in midfield.
Conor Murphy was cup-tied for last Friday’s game against UCD but will be available for this game which will boost their chances of taking three points away from Tolka Park. However speaking to BBC Northern Ireland their manager remains cautious about the game and expects a tough encounter.
“Shelbourne have done tremendously well after coming up from the First Division. Alan Mathews has bought well and brought in a lot of experienced players. On their day they are capable of giving anyone a match and the pitch doesn’t really allow you to play free flowing football because it is always very bumpy.”
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Derry City has lost only two of their 10 away matches in the Airtricity League this season; however they have also drawn 5.
Shelbourne have lost six of their 11 home league games this season. A record matched only by bottom club Dundalk and Friday night’s visitors, Derry City.
Shelbourne 6/4, Draw 11/5, Derry City 17/10.
Shelbourne to continue their hoodoo over Derry with a 2-1 victory.
Shelbourne Injury News: Stephen Paisley and Philly Gorman (doubtful).
Shelbourne Suspension News: None.
Derry City Injury News: Owen Morrison( groin injury), Stephen McLaughlin (tendonitis).
Derry City Suspension News: Stewart Greacen.
Paul Walsh is a part-time freelance journalist based in Dublin and freelancing for a number of publications. Follow him on twitter @walshpots