UCD AFC and Bray Wanderers meet on Wednesday night for a re-arranged Premier League clash with very little left to play for. For UCD, this game represents another chance for their young stars to get some much needed experience and they will come into this game free from the shackles of relegation having secured their status for another season following their recent win over Galway.
That 2-1 win over the tribesmen was only the second time this season that the Students managed to secure back to back home victories and after losing 13 players last season, a result that saw Martin Russell forced to rely on youth, their survival is a remarkable feat.
Speaking to www.ucdsoccer.com ahead of the game Russell was hoping for a strong finish to the season, saying: “We will be looking to collect as many points as possible over our remaining fixtures, the emphasis will remain on the performance and we try to maintain our attractive style of play. It’s always a good game when we play Bray Wanderers and I am expecting more of the same come Wednesday night.”
For Bray meanwhile a season that started with so much promise has slowly petered out and with just four points on the board from their last 7 games not to mention their collapse at home to Limerick in the FAI cup, management and Fans alike will be looking for a strong performance to end the season on a high.
Previous meeting: All previous encounters between the sides have been close affairs however that said Bray has managed to win all three meetings. Bray won 1-0 & 2-1 at the Bowl before an injury time goal from Conor Murphy gave them a 2-1 when the sides met at the Carlisle grounds.
Team news: UCD will be without Sean Harding (groin) and Ciaran Nangle (shins) while Sean Russell is also out after picking up a rib injury. For Bray, Devlin has almost a full squad to choose from with only midfielder Danny O’Connor missing following his sending off against Limerick in the cup. Bray received a timely boost ahead of the game Garry Dempsey, who has been missing for five weeks with a back injury, was declared fit to play and the former SPL star should start.
Prediction: Should UCD win on Wednesday then the gap between 8th and 7th would be down to 10 points with four games remaining, and that along should be incentive enough for both sides to avoid defeat and set up a thrilling end of season mid table battle. UCD has the better recent form but the return of Dempsey and home advantage should swing it the way of the Seasiders. Bray to secure a narrow win.