Sitting second in the table Shelbourne will be hoping that they extend their one point lead ahead of third placed Drogheda United on Friday night when they host Tim Clancy’s side at Tolka Park (kick-Off 7.45pm).
After picking up a valuable point away to table toppers UCD at the Belfield Bowl last week, Owen Heary’s charges will be hoping that they can build on a positive performance on Dublin’s southside with a potential match winning performance on the northside of the city come Friday evening.
Last time these sides met, the game ended in controversial circumstances as Drogheda were awarded a late penalty against the Reds in an enthralling game of football at the Richmond Road venue.
Sean Brennan slotted home the spot-kick to break Shelbourne hearts after Dayle Rooney looked to have sealed all three points for Shels in the 75thminute.
Since then, the Reds have picked up an impressive eight points from a possible 12 as they are amid a 12 game unbeaten run at the top end of an ultra-competitive and congested First Division table.
Speaking ahead of the game with the club’s official media, Shels ‘keeper Dean Delany noted the importance of keeping it one game at a time as they approach the business end of the season at Tolka Park.
“They’re all big games at this stage. The run-in games are all finals because you’re in touching distance of winning,” Delany said.
“We just have to approach each game as it comes, no matter who we’re playing. We have to keep our heads on and keep playing consistently the way we are.”
In terms of team news for Owen Heary’s side, they will have to make do without the services of Arran Molloy, Lorcan Fitzgerald and Gavin Boyne for Friday’s game.
Recent signing Greg Moorhouse is a doubt for the mammoth promotion humdinger in Drumcondra.
Shels boss Owen Heary also makes his return to the touchline after being forced to sit through a two-game ban on the side-lines.
Drogheda United will be hoping to make a much-needed return to winning ways at Tolka Park when they face high-flying Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday evening.
After succumbing to a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat at United Park against Finn Harps last time out, Tim Clancy will be acutely aware that his sides season could slip away from them with another defeat against a promotion rival at the top end of the First Division.
Speaking ahead of the game with his club’s official media team, Drogs boss Tim Clancy revealed on Thursday morning that he was frustrated given the circumstances of the goal going against his side late on at United Park.
“It’s not a game we should’ve lost. We created enough chances to win two games but when you don’t put them away, you often end up paying a price,” said Clancy.
“It’s a big blow for us. We’d been undefeated at home so to lose that record was also disappointing.”
However, Clancy is keen for his side to show a reaction at Tolka Park on Friday night, with a positive result being of paramount importance as they embark towards a crucial series of games in the context of the First Division promotion hunt.
“We’re into the last series of games now so it’s not a result we can dwell on. We have to show a reaction on Friday.
“It’s a huge game but so was Harps last week and so will Athlone be next week.
“We’re into the business end of the season and it’s absolutely all about results over performances, I don’t think any of the sides will be playing open, expansive football.”
With the sides being so evenly matched in terms of games gone by and the table standings, Clancy declared that he is relishing a crack at Shels under the lights at Tolka Park come 7.45pm on Friday night.
“We know the challenge that Shels will give us. They’re a physical team who like to get the ball forward early and their recent form has been fantastic.
“The position of the sides in the league table probably does add another little edge to it but these are the games that you want to be a part of as a footballer.
Drogheda United have gone four games without a draw, their last stalemate came against their upcoming opponents Shelbourne on June 4th.
Shelbourne currently have the league’s best defensive record having only conceded 14 goals all season.
Drogheda hold the second best attacking record in the league with 39 goals to their name to date. Only UCD hold a better goal scoring record with 41 goals to the name of the Students thus far.
Shelbourne 10/11; Draw 11/5; Drogheda United 13/5.
Shelbourne 1-1 Drogheda United
Injured: Arran Molloy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Gavin Boyne.
Having earned a hard-fought point on Friday, @shelsfc are back at home this week when second hosts third in Tolka.— Shelbourne FC (@shelsfc) July 9, 2018
A controversial penalty for @DroghedaUnited meant the sides shared the spoils a month ago, while Shels’ late equaliser grabbed a point from County Louth in April. pic.twitter.com/gBy3tQhPTp