GARETH MAHER - Thursday, September 30, 2010
Ryan Guy and St. Patrick's Athletic will attempt to strengthen their grip on third place in the Premier Division when they take on Sporting Fingal while Chris Konopka aims to break back into the Waterford United team for Friday's clash with Monaghan United.
Sporting Fingal - St. Patrick's Athletic
With only five games to go in the season, St Pat's know that they cannot afford to slip up if they are to secure a top-three finish and qualify for next season's Europa League qualifiers.
Guy has a big role to play in this meeting with Dublin rivals Sporting, who have failed to beat the Saints in their three previous meetings this year, as he is expected to start up front in this game at Morton StadiumThe San Diego native struggled to get going in last week's defeat to Dundalk and was replaced after 63 minutes, which may suggest that he is starting to feel the effects of a long season as he has played a lot of games.
However, if the Saints are to stop Sporting overtaking them in the league then Guy may be needed to be at his best as their good performances have tended to be sparked by his influence.
Manager Pete Mahon will be without the suspended duo of Ian Bermingham and Derek Pender, while Gareth Coughlan (broken leg) and Paul Byrne (ankle) are both injured.
Sporting are missing Kenny Browne (suspension) and Colm James (knee), but defender Shaun Maher is expected to come through a late fitness test.
Monaghan United - Waterford United
Time is running out for Konopka to reclaim a starting position in the Waterford team after slipping down the pecking order to first-choice goalkeeper Kevin Burns.
The Blues are still hunting for an automatic promotion spot as they sit in third place in the First Division ahead of facing Monaghan at Gortakeegan, who are just a single point ahead of Stephen Henderson's men.
Konopka may not have featured for the first team since June, but he is remaining upbeat as Waterford attempt to end their season by securing their passage back to the top flight.
There are no injury concerns for the Blues, so Henderson has a full roster to pick from and will have to decide whether he wants to recall Konopka or stick with Burns.