Limerick FC travel to Bray hoping to take step towards premier division survival.

Limerick FC make the trip to the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night to face 5th place Bray Wanderers in a crucial game in Limerick’s bid to ensure survival in the premier division (kick-off 7.45). Limerick currently sit 3 points ahead of Sligo Rovers, who occupy the third and final relegation place. Outside of recent FAI Cup victories, the Shannonsiders have struggled massively in the league, winning just one of their last seven games dating back to the beginning of July.

Rodrigo Tosi of Limerick FC in action. SSEAirtricity League Premier Division, Limerick FC V Finn Harps FC. 01/09/2017. Markets Field, Garryowen, Limerick. Credit: Conor Wyse

Bray are two places and seven points better off than Limerick, but have struggled in the second half of the season following the financial uncertainty which faced the club during the summer months.

Furthermore, the club are now at the centre of a match fixing investigation which centres around their friendly defeat to Waterford United last week. The Seagulls dream of European qualification has also suffered due to the turmoil, considering the club made a superb start to the season.

Neil McDonald’s Limerick qualified for their first FAI Cup semi-final in 23 years last Friday night as they defeated Galway United. Although Galway were poor on the night, Limerick put in a spirited display and were deserving of the victory. Particularly pleasing on the night, was the performance of Bastian Henry, who won countless tackles and interceptions. This dominant midfield performance allowed Lee-J Lynch to become involved in the game.

Furthermore, David O’Connor appeared comfortable in his preferred centre-back position and provided ample for central defensive partner Tony Whitehead. It is expected that Neil McDonald will stick with the same and formation which gained the victory in Galway. The Carlisle Grounds is narrow so the midfield area will be congested. Limerick’s left and right side midfielders will have to work hard in order to create space.

Limerick have no suspensions or injuries for the game and will be hoping to leave the Carlisle Grounds with safety in the premier division fast approaching.

Bray will be without the services of Mark Salmon, who serves a one match ban.

Match Stats: Limerick and Bray have met twice in the league in 2017 with Limerick emerging victorious on both occasions. The first victory arrived in March in Martin Russell’s last away game in charge of the club. The now departed Paul O’Conor scored to earn a 0-1 victory at the Carlisle Grounds.

The Super Blues won an eight goal thriller in June at the Markets Field. A 5-3 victory ensured that the watching support were entertained throughout.

In 2015, Limerick failed to beat Bray as the Seagulls won 2 and drew 1 as Limerick were relegated.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin