The gap between the top and bottom of the Irish Premier Division is thirty-five points as things stand, but that total is likely to be increased on Friday night when the league leaders Dundalk play host to rock bottom Bray Wanderers. The home side sit two points clear at the top of the table, but second placed Cork City have a game in hand which means Dundalk can’t afford any slip ups. Bray Wanderers are the only side left in the Irish Premier Division yet to have reached the double figures mark in points for the season, and they are unlikely to achieve that landmark this weekend.
When these two clubs locked horns for their reverse league fixture in April, the hosts hosts Bray were very unlucky to lose the game 2-0. A strike from Dundalk number nine Hoban broke the deadlock in the twenty-sixth minute, but arrived against the run of play. The second forty-five saw Bray Wanderers created more scoring opportunities, but the hosts failed to take any of them and we’re punished deep into stoppage time by a Mountney strike that wrapped up the three points for Dundalk. Bray didn’t see as much of the ball as their guests, but did end the game with more shots on target and will have felt aggrieved not to have taken something from the match.
With five wins and one defeat from their last six matches its hardly surprising to learn that Dundalk head into Friday’s game against Bray Wanderers as the clear form favourites. Bray have only managed one win, one draw from their last six matches, suffering four defeats, three of which came away from home. Dundalk are in fantastic form and have gone form games unbeaten against Bray, all of which have been accompanied by clean sheets. Three of each teams last six matches have produced over 2.5 goals, so its clear to see why we believe their will be three goals at the very least in Friday latest encounter between Dundalk and Bray Wanderers. Dundalk have been so strong in defence of late, keeping three clean sheets in that run of five straight wins.
Former Oxford United striker Hoban leads the way for the hosts with twelve league goals to his name this season, the first time he has reached double figures in a single campaign since leaving Dundalk back in 2014. Bray Wanderers are really struggling for goals this season, with Coughlin and McCabe joint top scorers with three Irish Premier Division goals each.
We’re confident that Dundalk will win this game with ease and keep a clean sheet in the process as they are much the better side and have been so strong at home this season. Dundalk are top for a reason, while Bray are also bottom for their own reasons, and we can only see this game going one way on Friday. As for a final score, we’ve backed the hosts to secure a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Dundalk Predicted Lineup: Rogers, Gartland, Massey, Hoare, Cleary, Shields, Benson, Connolly, McGrath, Hoban, Duffy.
Bray Wanderers Predicted Lineup: Moran, Heaney, Lynch, McKenna, Gibbons, McCabe, O’Conor, Hayes, Galvin, D. Kelly, Coughlin.
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Friday marks the fifty-fifth meeting between these two clubs, and with 23 wins, 12 draws, and 19 defeats its Dundalk who lead the head to head record. Dundalk are unbeaten in their last four matches against Bray Wanderers.
Mountney, O’Donnell, Gannon, and Chvedukas could all miss Friday’s game through injury.
Gorman, Sullivan, Dillon, J. Kelly, Noone, and Greene are rated as doubtful to feature in the trip to Dundalk due to injury.