Truckers look to find their rhythm in Ballybofey
Stephen Bradley is effectively a talent manager this season. Take Aidomo Emakhu and Richie Towell. Two players at opposite ends of their careers, both of whom emerged last season as key figures in Shamrock Rovers’ next big leap forward.
Emakhu cannot come into the squad while Towell has been a peripheral midfield option at the start of this campaign despite Rovers sitting fourth in the table with three wins and two losses from seven matches. It’s far from a crisis situation for Bradley, even given the need to bring Ireland international Jack Byrne off the bench to salvage a home draw against Sligo Rovers before the international break.
The three back-to-back title chasers are the only fully professional side in the league, with a squad designed to reach the group stages of the Europa Conference League, but they still have to figure out how to juggle players who could potentially demand more minutes . .
“We didn’t want to involve Jack because he had been sick,” Bradley explained, “even before the Bohs and Dundalk games he was struggling for those as well. But he came, he was very good and Neil too [Farrugia]. Both had a real positive impact on the game.”
Bradley was indifferent to Sligo taking a two zero lead at Tallaght.
“I was happy with the majority of the game and the performance. I thought it was very good. We were down 2-0 and it was a strange feeling because we were playing very well in most aspects. In the second half, I felt our pace picked up a bit, but that just continued from the first half.
The Rovers squad received a boost following Cape Verde‘s wins over Guadeloupe, Liechtenstein and San Marino as Roberto Lopes returns fit and available for the trip to Ballybofey. Andy Lyons is also returning from Ireland’s Under-21 win in Sweden, where the winger didn’t feature.
“Pico came back early after his first game for Cape Verde because he broke a bone in his hand,” Bradley said. “So he came back to have that looked at. Fortunately, it’s not too bad and he can play.
“We know we’ll have to go up [to Finn Harps] and work extremely hard. This is what the game requires. We will respect everything they bring to the game and we will impose ourselves as soon as we can.
No worries, just a team built to win trophies struggling to find the rhythm.
League of Ireland schedule
Bohemians v Derry City
Dalymount Park, 7:45 p.m.
As Michael Duffy enters a period of rehabilitation, at least Will Patching has caught the scoring bug. Ruaidhrí Higgins brings the Candystripes title challenge to North Dublin where anything short of three points will almost certainly see Shamrock Rovers cut their lead at the top of the table.
St Patrick’s Athletic v Drogheda United
Richmond Park, 7:45 p.m.
A gaggle of underage Irish talent return to Richmond Park, to star alongside the ubiquitous Chris Forrester, as St Pat manager Tim Clancy takes on his former club in what should yield a clean win despite recent success at Drogheda United in the Louth derby.
Finn Harps v Shamrock Rovers
Finn Park, 8 p.m.
Less than a year ago, Danny Mandroiu was part of Stephen Kenny’s senior Republic of Ireland squad, now the 23-year-old’s top position is debated by the Rovers faithful. An eagle-eyed observer thinks his natural touch is best suited as a leader in the 3-4-2-1 system.
Dundalk v UCD
Oriel Park, 7:45 p.m.
Unused on the bench in Sweden, UCD Under-21 striker Colm Whelan will have witnessed the standard set by Mipo Odubeko on the international stage as the students need him to make an immediate return to the game. mode a first victory of the campaign. Dundalk has a miserable win out of seven.
Sligo Rovers v Shelbourne
The exhibition center, 7:45 p.m.
Liam Buckley, 61, brings a lifetime of tactical savvy to his first look at Damien Duff, as the Sligo manager’s 25 years of League of Ireland experience clashes with rookie manager Shels. The smart money is on Buckley, especially after a recent draw at Tallaght.