Limerick FC travel to Wicklow on Friday for the basement clash with fellow strugglers Bray Wanderers in the Airtricity League Premier Division at the Carlisle Grounds (7.45).
The teams have won just three games between them this season from 25 attempts. For the victors, it will provide a much needed morale boost after tough starts.
Limerick secured an unlikely draw in Tallaght Stadium last week as Danny Morrissey scored an 85th minute equaliser to deny Stephen Bradley’s Shamrock Rovers the victory. Rovers should have been out of sight at half time but Brendan Clarke produced saves from earlier goal hero Graham Burke and Lee Grace. The Shannonsiders grew into the game in the second half and Morrissey should have converted a header before rifling a low shot across Kevin Horgan to gain a point for Tommy Barrett’s men.
Considering recent results, a draw away from home was a big relief for the Limerick management team who were again without first team regulars Mark O’Sullivan and Daniel Kearns. Unfortunately, the Super Blues were forced to make two early substitutions as Conor Clifford and Conor Ellis were replaced by Eoin Wearen and Shaun Kelly.
Also, Cian Coleman will miss the vital match tomorrow as he was shown a straight red card late on for a foul on Aaron Bolger. The energetic midfielder will be a huge loss in a game of such significance. Not only has Coleman been ever present in a defensive midfield role, but he is instrumental in starting a lot of Limerick’s attacks. Daniel Kearns and Tony Whitehead also remain doubtful ahead of the game. If Conor Clifford has recovered, it is likely that he will partner Eoin Wearen in midfield.
Killian Cantwell has proven to be a utility player for Limerick this season and it was his pass which set up Morrissey for the equaliser last week. Cantwell has operated all across the back four while he has impressed in a defensive midfield role before being switched out of necessity. The emergence of Killian Brouder is a big plus for Tommy Barrett. Brouder has made four league starts to date and has acquitted himself well on each occasion.
Bray Wanderers’ victory over Shamrock Rovers last week has piled the pressure on Friday night’s opponents. Before the unexpected victory, Limerick enjoyed a sizeable advantage over the Seagulls. With a game in hand, a victory for Bray would see them move to within three points of second bottom.
Rumours are at large that former Limerick manager Martin Russell has been acting as an advisor in recent weeks and is set to take charge of the beleaguered club. Russell may even be present against his former employers in the dugout.
If the Dubliner is installed, the approach will be somewhat different to the previous regime. As Limerick supporters are well aware of, Russell likes to play an expansive style of football, even at the risk of conceding a multitude of goals and possession in dangerous areas.
Former Limerick player Aaron Greene is likely to miss out on Friday through injury but Paul O’Conor will start in midfield for Wanderers. He may be partnered by another former Limerick player in John Sullivan who featured for the club under Pat Scully in 2010. Dangerman Gary McCabe has endured a miserable season so far but still holds the key to unlocking the Limerick defence if he is allowed to play. Limerick native Ronan Coughlan will also line out for Bray on the right wing.
Meetings so far: Limerick defeated Bray 1-0 at the Markets Field last month courtesy of a late Danny Morrissey header. The victory ensured that Bray were cut adrift at the bottom of the table.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin