Mick Cooke's LOI Premier Division predictions
Cork City will look to extend their big lead while Dundalk head to Shamrock Rovers16:11 Friday 5 May 2017, 16:11 5 May 2017
As another Friday of League of Ireland action arrives, Cork City are going for the perfect dozen of victories, while Bray Wanderers and Dundalk face a challenge to keep in touch with the runaway leaders.
As ever, former Drogheda United, Athlone Town and Monaghan United manager Mick Cooke has previewed all of this weekend's fixtures and made his predictions.
Bray Wanderers vs St Patrick's Athletic
Bray were the latest team to find Cork City to be a step too far but stay level with second placed Dundalk, 12 points adrift of the leaders.
But they have a chance to get back to winning ways against a St Pats side who remain in the relegation zone a third of the way into the campaign.
"I think the front three that Bray have with Aaron Greene, Gary McCabe and young Dylan Connolly would put the fear of God into any defence, the way they are playing at the moment," says Mick.
"There's no shame in being beaten by Cork. The only concern for Bray is that they do concede a lot of goals. They're the second highest in the league for conceding goals so far and if they can lock up in defence a small bit, I think they would be a banker for tomorrow night against Pats. Worrying for Pats is if results go the other way, they could find themselves bottom after the weekend."
Prediction: "A home win for Bray."
Cork City vs Finn Harps
With a potential 12th win from 12 on the horizon if they can see off Finn Harps, Cork City are already looking like they will be tough to push out of the way when it comes to the title.
And Finn Harps face a tough challenge to get anything at Turner's Cross.
Mick says: "Harps are short of players at the moment and going to Cork you'd want a full squad and everybody giving their A game. With Harps short of a few players, I can't see them getting anything out of this game. Cork are winning even when they aren't winning games and have shown they're a really good side. I think it's a bridge too far for Finn Harps."
Prediction: "I'll go for a Cork win."
Drogheda United vs Galway United
Galway are no longer adrift at the bottom after beating Dundalk last week and a win at Drogheda would almost certainly lift them above a couple of teams.
"Galway, of the 10 games they've played, have five draws and obviously the win last week against Dundalk will give them great confidence. And they also beat Sligo during the week in the quarter finals of the EA Sports Cup. You would think from that they are starting to find their way. Their performances so far would suggest that they shouldn't be at the bottom of the table," says Mick.
Prediction: Although Dundalk were caught with a late equaliser last week against Sligo, I would go for Galway in this one. They may have turned the corner now."
Derry City vs Bohemians
With both sides 5th and 8th respectively, there are only two points between the clubs in the table.
Mick says: "Bohs got back to winning ways last week with a 2-0 win over Finn Harps after many defeats on the spin and that will give them confidence going into this game."
"Derry got a draw last week against St Pats and the Pats keeper had a wonderful game. Two weeks before that against Bray, the Bray keeper also had a great game.
"Derry are probably coming back into form."
Prediction: "I would go for a Derry win here."
Shamrock Rovers vs Dundalk
Shamrock Rovers were held by Limerick last week to continue their inconsistent start and Dundalk's slip up against Galway now leaves the champions a huge 12 points off the summit already.
"There's no consistency there for Rovers and Stephen Bradley is probably finding it hard to get his best XI on the park between young players and a couple of experienced players out injured as well," says Mick.
"For that reason, Dundalk would be looking to get back to form after their slip up last week."
Prediction: "I would go for a Dundalk win in this game."
Sligo Rovers vs Limerick
Limerick are in a very solid fourth place while 10th placed Sligo drew at Drogheda United in their first match with new manager Gerard Lyttle on the sideline.
"It's intriguing. Limerick haven't appointed a manager and they've gone four games unbeaten under Willie Boland as caretaker manager, playing absolutely lovely football and continuing from the way Martin Russell left them," says Mick.
"I just think the new manager coming in at Sligo with no experience of the league and not knowing the strength of it, I would be tempted to go for an away win for Limerick."
Prediction: "I'm tipping Limerick for the win."
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