Shelbourne return to Tolka Park after two consecutive weeks on the road in the league. They will be hosting their south Dublin rivals UCD, who currently sit in fourth, one place and three points ahead of their hosts.
The home side have failed to win a match since the fixture away to Cabinteely over a month ago. In their last five games they have lost four and drawn one. Shels’ last fixture, was 1-0 away loss to Finn Harps.
Speaking about last week’s game away to Finn Harps with shelbournefc.ie, manager Kevin Doherty said,
“I was very pleased with our performance last weekend against Finn Harps, which saw us back to our solid best. We had a number of chances to score that vital first goal, but it just didn’t happen. The penalty decision, which, ultimately meant that we left empty handed, was disappointing, but going forward, this is the type of performance we require to get our season back on track.”
Doherty also gave his thoughts on Friday’s game against UCD.
“It was a very tough game when we played them early in the season. They have had a number of good results lately. No doubt we can expect them to come to Tolka and play their usual passing game and I expect that there won’t be much between us at the final whistle,” said the Shelbourne boss.
The last time these sides met, during the second week of the season, Shelbourne took all three points from Belfield, courtesy of a goal from defender Sean Heaney in the 75th minute.
In the nine games played between the sides (seven league, two Leinster Senior Cup) since the start of 2012, Shelbourne came out on top in five, UCD in three (including a Leinster Senior Cup game won on penalties), with one game drawn.
Neither side have any suspensions to worry about ahead of this fixture. Shelbourne only have one injury concern with Simon Dixon ruled out for the rest of the season with a head injury suffered in the season opener at home to Finn Harps.
UCD come into the game with two wins, two draws and a loss in their last five games. Their last fixture was a 1-1 draw at home to sixth-placed Cobh Ramblers.
Shelbourne, who were promotion favourites in pre-season, know that they desperately need three points here if they are to chase the league leaders Finn Harps, who are 12 points ahead of them. However, UCD will be looking to avenge the defeat from earlier in the season and put another dent in Shels’ season.
Conor McManus, Pundit Arena