KENNY Shiels has challenged his players to restore some of their battered pride with a victory over Drogheda tonight, a win which would re-ignite their fight for Europe next season and rubberstamp Drogheda United’s drop to the First Division.
Following an inquest into the shambolic 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Bray Wanderers last weekend in Buncrana, Shiels is now keen to draw a line under that performance.
The City boss insists the players and management will take the criticism ‘on the chin’ as they look to make amends tonight in a ‘pivotal’ clash against the ‘Boynesiders’ who are effectively condemned to relegation.
“We’ve worked really hard this week on picking the players up,” said Shiels. “We’ve had a really good week in terms of how we’ve dissolved it all and looked at how we can improve things for this week.
“Everyone is really hurt and our pride is hurt, albeit we were beaten by a very heavily invested team, but we still felt we should’ve done better.
“We’ve suffered a few heavy defeats this season as a result of our inexperience, but we take it on the chin and move on and stay positive. We don’t let the negative people out there destroy our progress.”
We’ve suffered a few heavy defeats this season as a result of our inexperience, but we take it on the chin and move on and stay positive. We don’t let the negative people out there destroy our progress.Kenny Shiels
Despite going into tonight’s rescheduled Premier Division clash on the back of a three game losing run in the league, victory would move the Candy Stripes to within a point of third placed Shamrock Rovers.
It would also mean City are four points better off than nearest challengers, Bray with just four games left to play.
“We have to win. I think if Drogheda are totally honest about it they’re going down because they’re not going to win their last four games and the teams above you are playing each other as well, so mathematically, if you worked it out, they’re effectively relegated.”
Shiels welcomes back defensive duo Dean Jarvis and Darren Cole into the fold with the former expected to reclaim his place in the starting line-up. However, Nathan Boyle remains sidelined.
Drogheda, meanwhile, are without suspended duo Chris Mulhal and Thomas Byrne.