Derry City midfielder Conor McCormack is relishing the chance to test himself against the best team in the league in front of the RTE cameras - but he’s not so happy to be playing on what he rates as the ‘worst pitch in the country’.
Derry have been training on synthetic pitches in preparation for tonight’s game but McCormack believes the Oriel Park surface gives Dundalk the upper hand.
It was a very different problem Derry faced in Ballybofey on the opening day of the season when the poor state of the sodden grass pitch at Finn Park prevented the ‘Candy Stripes’ from playing their normal passing game.
However, while McCormack certainly isn’t a fan of 3G pitches, in general, he refuses to use it as an excuse before kick-off and is confident Derry can come away with a favourable result.
“I don’t like Dundalk’s pitch - I think it’s probably one of the worst 3G pitches in the country,” he said.
“It’s definitely an advantage to Dundalk. We’re so used to playing and training on grass while Dundalk are training on 3G every day.
“Personally I don’t like it and your body feels it the next day or two after the match.
“But we’re not making excuses. We’ll go down there and try our best and hopefully get the points.
“I’m hoping our good form can continue on Friday night. Dundalk are a good team but they’re not unbeatable. So, hopefully, things go to plan.
“Cork went up to Dundalk and beat them. They’ve beaten them twice already this season so they’re not unbeatable.
“They have some good players. I’ve played with some of them before and I know what they’re like.
“ It will be interesting and I’m really looking forward to it.”
McCormack opened the scoring against Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park last Saturday with a powerful strike into the top corner from the edge of the area and he ‘s hoping for a repeat performance when the chances come his way on Friday night.
“I was happy I connected with the ball properly. Barry McNamee set me up perfectly and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to hit this’. I couldn’t have hit it any sweeter. They’re one in a million those goals.
“If the chances arrive, I’ll strike them. But my game is about sitting in front of the back four and feeding the attacking players.
“However, if the chance arises and we’re pushing forward, I won’t be afraid to hit them,” said the Co. Louth born midfielder.