Match Preview: Rovers visit UCD this evening

Sligo Rovers are back in action on tonight as we face UCD away from home at 7.45pm.

It will be the second game in a row that Rovers travel to Dublin after our 1-1 draw with Shelbourne at Tolka Park last time out.

The game marks the return to action for all teams following the International break and will be the Bit O’ Red’s 21st game of the 2023 season.

Manager John Russell is looking forward to getting back to action this evening:

‘’We’re all looking forward to getting back on the pitch on Friday evening. The players have trained well this week and it’s important that they bring that into the game tonight.

‘’We’re still nursing a few injuries but we’re hoping over the next few weeks we will see the return of a few players. We welcome back Max, Nando and Stefan from international duty who will all go into the squad.

UCD are on bottom of the table at present, with Rovers in 8th position heading into the game.

The last time the sides met was a 3-1 Rovers victory at The Showgrounds in April following February’s 3-2 win for Russell’s side thanks to Max Mata’s hat-trick.

Russell knows the importance of the game on Friday:

‘’We know the threat UCD bring. They have got some good young players and are well coached by Andy Myler and his staff. We will need to be at our best to get a result.

‘’The last time we played in Belfield we had a big support and we’re hoping for another big following this evening’’.

In team news, Rovers have a number of injury worries going into the game.

Long-term absentees Garry Buckley, Gary Boylan, Mark Byrne, Karl O’ Sullivan, James Finnerty, Fabrice Hartmann and Eanna Clancy are all out with their respective injuries.

There was more bad news for Rovers before the game against Shelbourne when Reece Hutchinson as injured in the warm-up and he will miss the next number of weeks with an achilles problem.

Greg Bolger was forced off in the same game and is a doubt for Friday and goalkeeper Conor Walsh is expected to miss out once again with an ankle injury, but is progressing in his rehabilitation.

Max Mata, Nando Pijnaker and Stefan Radosavljevic all returned from International duty with no concerns and all three are available for the game.

The game is Live on LOI TV with a 7.45pm kick-off.