League leaders Shamrock Rovers will be hoping to put an end to Sligo Rovers’ title ambitions when they welcome the Bit O’Red to Tallaght and the west coasters know that defeat here will all but end their interest in this season’s title race.
Paul Cook’s side go into the game five points behind the champions with a game more played but know that their performance in the Showgrounds in June when they beat the Hoops 2-0 left the Dubliners reeling and a similar result tonight would be crucial if they are to pick up their first championship in 34 years.
“It’s a good challenge and it’s one we’re really looking forward to,” said Cook.
“I look at our players and I think they are in good form . . . I’m confident we can get a result.”
Michael O’Neill’s side have had quite a journey from that defeat in late June though and with no signs of a European hangover setting in just yet, they’re on a run of five straight league wins, the Hoops will be confident they can dispatch with the challengers.
“It gives us a chance to put a good gap between ourselves and Sligo at the top of the table”, said O’Neill.
“We were disappointed with the last result away to them, but the players reacted brilliantly to that, and have been excellent since. We won the last league game here at home, and will be looking to repeat that in this tie.”
Shamrock Rovers are without Dean Kelly, Conor McCormack and Ken Oman while Billy Dennehy is a concern due to a groin problem.
Paul Cook has a full squad to choose from after Alan Keane returned from injury to come off the bench in last Saturday’s draw with Derry.
Shamrock Rovers – LWWWWW
Sligo Rovers – WDDLWD
Shamrock Rovers – Gary Twigg, 12
Sligo Rovers – Eoin Doyle, 14