The visitors, meanwhile, are only two points above the relegation zone after winning just one of their last seven games.
Having only avoided relegation by beating Waterford 1-0 in a relegation playoff at the end of last season, UCD will almost certainly be competing in Ireland’s second tier next season after only collecting six points from their opening 20 games.
The Students succumbed to their seventh successive defeat at the hands of the reigning champions Shamrock Rovers in their last league match, with the table-toppers running out comfortable 4-0 winners at Tallaght Stadium.
UCD had at least scored in each of their previous four defeats, but they have now conceded three or more goals in each of their last six outings, amounting to Andrew Myler’s side possessing a goal difference of minus 39 ahead of hosting Sligo on Friday.
With their opponents 17 points ahead of them in safety with 16 games of the season remaining, anything shy of collecting all three points would surely seal Myler’s side’s fate, if that is not already the case.
Sligo, on the other hand, have every chance of saving themselves, although they would not have expected to find themselves in this precarious position after finishing in the top five positions in each of the previous three campaigns.
The three-time Premier Division champions – with their most recent triumph coming in 2012 – have clearly seen their standards dip this time around, with their manager John Russell coming under pressure as a result.
The 38-year-old, who made 130 league appearances for the club during his playing career, was promoted from his role as assistant manager in May 2022, and enjoyed a decent opening period following his appointment.
However, five defeats from their last seven games has seen Drogheda United and Cork City reel them in towards the bottom of the table, although UCD’s dismal form means that whichever of those three teams that are likely to finish second-bottom would have a chance to save themselves in the end-of-season relegation playoff.
University College Dublin League of Ireland Premier form:
Sligo Rovers League of Ireland Premier form:
We say: University College Dublin 1-3 Sligo Rovers
Sligo will be licking their lips at the prospect of potentially putting further distance between themselves and Cork, who occupy the relegation playoff spot ahead of Friday’s action, by beating UCD.
The hosts appear out of answers in terms of putting an end to their losing streak, and we expect them to succumb to an eighth consecutive defeat.