Limerick FC travel to Tallaght on Friday evening with the aim of consolidating fourth position after the first series of games against Shamrock Rovers (kick-off 8pm). Limerick are unbeaten in four games under interim manager Willie Boland.
The Super Blues have won against St.Patricks Athletic and Drogheda whilst drawing their last two games against Galway and Derry. Limerick took the lead midweek against Derry through a great strike by Shane Duggan but Barry McNamee’s second-half equaliser denied the victory.
This will be the fifth game in 13 days for the Markets Field outfit and Boland will be hoping that his squad can produce another big effort and a positive result on Friday before the Sligo game next week. Speaking to the club’s official website in anticipation of the Shamrock Rovers game, Boland feels his players need to be wary of various threats from the home side:
“They like to get the ball down and play. They have full backs who like to get forward and there is a lot of movement and interchanging of positions in the middle of the park. We need to be wary of that and hold a good shape.”
Limerick’s defensive record in the league has improved since Boland took temporary charge of the Shannonsiders, conceding just two goals in four games. However, the former Carew Park schoolboy feels that his side need to be productive in possession as well as maintaining their defensive shape:
“We need to be braver on the football. I feel we should go up there and be confident enough to get the ball down and play in the right areas. We can exploit certain areas with our pace.”
Boland believes that the coaching staff have instilled a belief within the squad that they can emerge victorious at Tallaght Stadium:
“We are going up there with the mind-set to win the game. It’s important that we go up there with that mind-set. We’ve got to be aware of the dangers and what they have in their team but we have to impose ourselves on the game.”
Limerick will have a full squad to choose from ahead of the game, with no notable absentees from the squad that travelled to Maginn Park on Tuesday. Recent signings Tommy Walsh and Tobiaz Kainz were included in a league squad for the first time last Tuesday, having featured in the EA Sports Cup defeat against Cork City.
Shamrock Rovers have had a poor start to the season by their standards and lie in sixth place. Stephen Bradley’s men have lost six of their opening ten games in the Airtricity League Premier Division. Ex-Limerick midfielder Bradley will come under a lot of pressure if the Hoops fail to pick up all three points against Limerick. After taking a 0-1 lead against Bray last weekend, Rovers succumbed to a 4-2 loss.
The former Drogheda United midfielder was not impressed by the way his team defended in their last outing:
“We weren’t compact, we defended in ones and twos and made wrong decisions on the ball. Bray punished us every chance they got. They punished us for ten minutes and it cost us the game.”
The home side will be without the influential Trevor Clarke and Michael O’Connor through suspension and Bradley has admitted that Clarke is a big loss:
“Trevor’s been excellent. He’s brought a lot to us so we will obviously miss him but Luke has been working hard in training and is ready to come in.”
Bradley has been impressed by the performances of his former club since their return to the premier division and expects a tough clash on Friday. He expects the visitors to play an expansive game.
“They’re a good side. They will come here and play like a lot of teams do. They will play with freedom and we have to be ready for that.”
Referee: Derek Tomney