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Preview: Dundalk vs Derry City & Drogheda United vs. Shamrock Rovers

Preview: Dundalk vs Derry City & Drogheda United vs. Shamrock Rovers

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SSE Airtricity Premier Division

Match Preview

This Friday, the Candystripes travel to County Louth to face Dundalk at Oriel Park, kicking off a busy week for Ruaidhri Higgins’ side.

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins expressed his disappointment over dropping two points at home against Sligo Rovers last weekend, but he emphasized the tough challenge ahead at Oriel Park.

“You might look at their league position and think they’re struggling, but they haven’t conceded a single goal in their last six home games,” said Higgins. “They have really tightened up at the back and boast quality in midfield and attack with players who have league winners’ medals. Jon Daly is a great appointment for them, and I wish him every success—just not until after our game.”

Team News

Derry City have had a mixed season, but the return of injured players has provided a boost. Colm Whelan’s return is nearing as he starts full-contact training after a long layoff. However, Jordan McEneff remains out with a foot injury, and Sam Todd is sidelined due to a heel injury. The squad remains largely unchanged from the one that faced Sligo Rovers.

“We know how good this squad is when everyone is fit, and while we’re well aware of the challenges, we’re looking forward to the match,” Higgins added.

Dundalk FC Update

In other news, Dundalk announced the departure of suspended goalkeeper George Shelvey by mutual consent. Shelvey, who joined from Nottingham Forest in February and made nine appearances, received a 10-match ban for a red card incident involving officials and subsequent discriminatory remarks. Despite his apology and the club’s efforts to educate him on the issue, both parties agreed to terminate his contract.

“Dundalk FC has agreed to mutually end George Shelvey’s contract with the club. We wish him the best of luck in the future,” a club statement read.

Match Details

Date: Friday, 31st May 2024

Kick-Off: 7:45 PM

Venue: Oriel Park

Live Stream: LOITV

Dundalk will aim to continue their impressive defensive record at home, while Derry City hopes to bounce back and climb the table with a win.

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Both Drogheda United and Shamrock Rovers are eager to rebound from their recent losses as they face off at United Park on Friday.

Current Standings

As the League of Ireland Premier Division hits its halfway point, the teams find themselves in contrasting situations. Drogheda United, struggling near the bottom, are four points away from automatic safety. Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers aim to close the gap to the top two as they chase a fifth consecutive title.

Drogheda United’s Season So Far

Drogheda United return to their home ground after a tough start to the season, sitting ninth with 15 points from 17 games. They’ve managed just three wins while suffering eight defeats. Their recent struggles include a 4-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers and losses to St Patrick’s Athletic and Waterford, despite leading in some of these matches.

Kevin Doherty’s side showed promise with a late 2-1 victory over Dundalk, thanks to Hayden Cann’s stoppage-time goal, but have since added only one more point from their last three games. They will be keen to avenge their earlier heavy loss to Friday’s visitors and move closer to safety.

Shamrock Rovers’ Season So Far

Shamrock Rovers, after winning the league by a seven-point margin last season, are now nine points behind the leaders. Despite a strong position in late April, their form has dipped, with just six points from their last six games. They recently suffered defeats to Waterford and Dundalk and drew with Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic.

A 1-0 victory over Derry City gave them a brief respite, but a 2-0 loss to Shelbourne last Friday further dented their title hopes. Stephen Bradley’s side must find consistency to stay in the title race, starting with a win at United Park.

Recent Form

Drogheda United: L, L, W, D, L, L

Shamrock Rovers: D, L, D, L, W, L

Team News

Drogheda United

Drogheda United are expected to field a similar lineup to their recent defeat at Waterford. Striker Frantz Pierrot, with five goals since joining from Athlone Town, will lead the attack, supported by Darragh Markey and wingers Zishim Bawa and Adam Foley. Oisin Gallagher might replace Ryan Brennan in midfield, while Jack Keaney could return to the defense.

Possible Starting XI: Wogan; Heeney, Keaney, Cann, Weir; Deegan, Gallagher; Foley, Markey, Bawa; Pierrot

Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers may adjust their lineup following their loss to Shelbourne. Roberto Lopes is suspended, and defensive starters Daniel Cleary and Josh Honohan are doubtful. Neil Farrugia and Trevor Clarke might drop back into defense, with Lee Grace potentially starting. Aaron McEneff could replace one of the midfielders, and Aaron Greene is expected to return to the frontline.

Possible Starting XI: Pohls; Farrugia, Grace, Clarke, O’Sullivan; Nugent, McEneff, Poom; Byrne; Greene, Kenny

Conclusion

Both teams are desperate for a win to alter their current trajectories. Drogheda United need points to climb out of the relegation zone, while Shamrock Rovers aim to reignite their title challenge. This clash at United Park promises to be a fiercely contested encounter.



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