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League of Ireland Premier | Gameweek 21
Jun 13, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Oriel Park
Sligo Rovers

1 - 0

Horgan (54')
Elliott (25'), Durrant (90+5')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Wiggett (37')

Preview: Dundalk vs. Sligo Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's League of Ireland Premier clash between Dundalk and Sligo Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Striving to continue their desperate fight for top-tier safety following a change in management last month, bottom side Dundalk will welcome Sligo Rovers for a League of Ireland clash at Oriel Park on Thursday night.

The Lilywhites narrowly lost out at the home of title-chasing Shelbourne last time out, whilst Rovers were convincingly defeated at the base of Waterford, halting a three-game unbeaten streak.

Match preview

After scooping up five of the League of Ireland crowns over the last decade, Dundalk are without doubt experiencing a sobering campaign in 2024, with the Lilywhites' relegation fears worsened by a narrow 1-0 defeat at Shelbourne on Friday night, although there were signs of improvement from the visitors.

Despite failing to register a shot on Conor Kearns's net and surrendering the lion's share of possession to their hosts, Dundalk were able to hold off the league leaders until the 71st minute, when John Martin managed to hit home his third of the league season, securing maximum points for Damien Duff's troops.

Following the end of Stephen O'Donnell's troubling spell in charge at Oriel Park, the Lilywhites' results have picked up significantly to the point where an unlikely escape from the bottom two could be on the cards, with Thursday's hosts currently eight points behind eighth-placed St Patrick's Athletic, who have played two more games.

Thrown into the heat of a relegation fight during his first year away from his homeland of Scotland, Jamie Gullan is doing a commendable job at leading the Dundalk forward line this term, netting five goals in 20 League of Ireland appearances after failing to make a real impact at Raith Rovers in the Scottish Championship during 2023.

Regardless of Gullan's sterling efforts, Jon Daly's side have a worrying harmlessness about them in front of goal which threatens to sentence the club to their first second-tier stint since 2008, with Dundalk making the net ripple just 12 times in 20 league matches during 2024.

Following a pair of successive 2-1 victories over pacesetters Shelbourne and relegation-threatened Drogheda United, Sligo were quickly brought back down to Earth on Friday night, when a visit to Waterford Regional Sports Centre ended with the Rovers' joint-heaviest defeat of the season.

A brace from the League of Ireland's leading goalscorer Padraig Amond stole the headlines on the night, with further strikes from Connor Parsons and Ben McCormack for Waterford ensuring that Wilson Waweru's second of the term was nothing but a consolation during a poor showing from the visitors.

Having avoided the relegation playoffs by just a single position in 2023, it appears as if John Russell's charges are on course for a stress-free 2024 campaign despite their recent inconsistencies, with Thursday's travelling party sitting sixth in the league table, nine points clear of the bottom two.

With matches against third-placed Shamrock Rovers and second-placed Derry City to come after a trip to basement dwellers Dundalk, Sligo will be targeting maximum points at Oriel Park, where Rovers won 5-0 during their last visit, with Ellis Chapman and Max Mata both bagging braces on a sobering day for O'Donnell's Lilywhites.

On the contrary, April's meeting between the two sides at the Showgrounds was a close affair, with goals from Fabrice Hartmann and Dundalk marksman Gullan resulting in a share of the spoils.

Dundalk League of Ireland Premier form:

Sligo Rovers League of Ireland Premier form:

Team News

After receiving a 10-match ban during the loss at Drogheda for a discriminatory comment towards a match official, George Shelvey will be unavailable for relegation-threatened Dundalk on Thursday.

As a result, youngster Sean Molloy will continue to be trusted with a spot in between the sticks for the Lilywhites, fresh from making his debut for the club on Friday night.

Dundalk are short on options in the middle of the pitch, with former PSV Eindhoven player Koen Oostenbrink picking up a knock at the end of May.

Impressing at Sligo over the past two seasons, Nando Pijnaker is enduring his first significant spell on the sidelines, with the New Zealand international nursing a broken rib sustained in early April.

Rovers are also without the services of midfielder Simon Power, whose return date from a groin injury has not yet been confirmed by the club.

After being a regular in the Sligo side on his return to Ireland in 2023, John Mahon is yet to kick a competitive ball this season due to an Achilles injury.

Dundalk possible starting lineup:
Molloy; Johnson, Walker, Boyle; Muller, Doyle, Horgan, Davies, Mountney, O'Kane; Elliott

Sligo Rovers possible starting lineup:
McGinty; Wiggett, Hutchinson, Denham, Wilson; Chapman, Morahan, Barlow, Malley; Hartmann, Waweru

SM words green background

We say: Dundalk 1-0 Sligo Rovers

Since Daly assumed control of the squad, Dundalk have only been defeated by league leaders Shelbourne, so the Lilywhites should be confident of collecting a positive result on Thursday night.

Last week's heavy defeat at Waterford raised plenty of concerns from those of a Sligo persuasion, and we feel that it could get worse before it gets better for Rovers this month.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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