It’s a Bank Holiday bonus on Monday, with four games set to take place in the Premier Division. All four games are intriguing in their own way. Dundalk look to keep pressure on leaders Shamrock Rovers by beating UCD, ahead of the big Dublin Derby clash with Bohemians on Tuesday night, Cork City hoping to halt their recent slide with a home game against Sligo Rovers, Finn Harps trying to kick-start their season against St Pats, while Derry make the lengthy trip to Waterford as their push for Europe gathers pace.
Ahead of Monday’s clash with Derry City, Waterford boss Alan Reynolds said, “Monday offers something different again with Derry City in really good form at the moment. Declan is doing a good job up there and they have quality players. They lost narrowly on Friday but they’re well up there. We competed well against them away from home earlier in the season so we need a good performance again on Monday to match how we played against Cork.”
“We picked up a couple of knocks on Friday night so we might need to rearrange a few things but we’ve good players to step in if needed; they all can’t wait to get back on the pitch after Friday’s performance.”
Reynolds has doubts over Bastien Hery, Kenny Browne, Aaron Simpson and Izzy Akinade.
Derry Manager Devine welcomes back Jamie McDonagh following his recent suspension, and he knows it’s a tough ask to travel the length of the country and get a result. “It’s a hectic schedule as we keep saying but it’s the same for everyone and we just have to embrace it,” said Devine.
“There has been little or no recovery time and no doubt we will have to freshen things up for the Waterford game but that’s a call we’ll make on Monday afternoon.”
“The players have given everything we’ve asked of them and while I feel we were very unlucky to get nothing from the Rovers match, we’re ready to go again.”
“Waterford will be in good spirits after beating Cork so we will have to be on top of our game to get anything from this one.”
Speaking to the media ahead of the game against Sligo Rovers Cork boss John Caulfield said, “We’re back at home, but we are on a very difficult run at the moment. I think we played very well in the first half on Friday in Waterford, and the game was on a knife-edge up to the 75th minute but, at the moment, we are not creating as many chances as we would like. It is a huge game for us but the team are giving everything; it has been a tough run for them.”
“Sligo are on a good run at the moment; they beat Dundalk a few weeks ago, drew with Waterford, beat Finn Harps… We know Johnny Dunleavy and Ronan Coughlan, who both had spells here, but they are a big physical team and they have done really well over the last few weeks. They have also done very well in Cork over the last few years, so it will be a tough game for us. I am sure Sligo will fancy their chances with the run we are on at the moment, and we have to halt that run urgently.”
“They are a young team and they are learning very quickly; there is great unity within the team but we need results. If you keep working hard, which we are doing, you will break your bad luck. It is a huge game for us tomorrow and we need that positive support right behind the lads from the start to help us turn this around. We will turn it around, but we need to do it urgently; the last number of games have been very disappointing but we are all determined to try and turn it around tomorrow.”
“There are ten games gone in the season, so we still have nearly three quarters of the season to go. There are number of teams boxed in together in the middle of the table with only four or five points between all of them. At the moment, we haven’t been taking results, so we have to look at ourselves, it is a home game for us so we need to put the pressure on Sligo, see can we play to our best, score goals and win the match. We were in yesterday, we are in today and the lads are determined to go out and get that positive result. We know it will be a huge challenge, but we hope tomorrow will be the day that we turn it around.”
City go into the game with a number of injury concerns; Colm Horgan, Alan Bennett, Karl Sheppard and Cian Murphy all look set to miss out again, with a number of other players still being assessed after Friday’s game in Waterford. On a positive note for Caulfield, Garry Comerford returns to the squad after being suspended for Friday’s game in Waterford.
For Sligo Rovers, Ronan Murray serves the last of a four-game ban. Kyle Callan-McFadden is out with a hand injury while Romeo Parkes has a hamstring problem meaning he is doubtful and will be tested pre-game.
Sligo manager Liam Buckley said, “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb with the goals on Friday. We had some defensively poor moments and we have to improve on that.
“We’ll look to be a lot better on Monday, we switched things around a bit in the second half on Friday and got a bit more of what we were looking for but overall we need to do more to get results.
“It’s all about recovery at the minute for the players that played on Friday. Then we have five or six doing a bit more and then lads with knocks or suspended or whatever.
“Going to Cork; it’s a great place to play in, a good pitch and atmosphere, and these are two teams that really want to get up that table. I think it’s going to be a real scrap given where the teams are and where they want to be.
“We’re looking for three points and looking forward to going down there and trying to put in a better performance overall.”