DUNDALK boss, Stephen Kenny claims the unbeaten champions must ‘be at their best’ if they’re to record victory over a wounded Derry City at Oriel Park tomorrow night. (Kick-off 745 p.m.)
Peter Hutton’s side are expected travel to the home of the champions minus injured goalkeeper, Gerard Doherty (back) and long term absentees, Patrick McEleney (groin) and Stephen Dooley (back).
Doherty, who was substituted during the first half of the 2-0 defeat to Galway last weekend, is rated doubtful but his replacement, Shaun Patton should be fit to start despite being stretchered off in the second half of that clash with the Tribesmen.
City were booed off the Brandywell pitch after that shock loss against Galway but former City manager, Kenny is wary of the threat posed by the visiting team who, he believes, could win any game should they ‘click’.
“Derry have had an up and down season and they will be disappointed with that but they will set up to be difficult to beat and we will have to be at our best,” said the Dubliner.
“They can be tough opponents and they drew with Shamrock Rovers a few weeks ago. They are having an up and
down time of things but they have good players and if they click they can win a game. They are that type of team.”
Kenny has his own injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s match with experienced centre half, Brian Gartland expected to miss out.
The 28 year-old limped off with a suspected tear in his hamstring during the 2-0 win over Longford Town last Saturday night and is considered a major doubt for the Derry game.
“We rarely pick up hamstring injuries but Brian over-stretched for a ball on Saturday night and there could be
It is a big challenge but it’s one we should relish and having seen them in training, our players will need no motivation to take on Dundalk.Peter Hutton
a tear,” he said.
“He was on antibiotics for three and a half weeks to try and clear a virus so his immune system hasn’t been as
strong. We’ll just have to see what the scan shows.”
Gartland’s injury could open the door for 21-year-old defender Paddy Barrett to come in and stake his claim
for a regular place.
“Paddy looks like a terrific prospect,” he said. “He fitted in seamlessly against Longford and he looks a class act. He’s a young player but he’s a very good defender.”
Chris Shields, Gary Rogers, Andy Boyle and Ronan Finn also picked up knocks on Saturday evening but Kenny expects all four to be okay for the visit of the struggling ‘Candy Stripes’ tomorrow night.
And Hutton’s troops will be wary of the threat posed by the talented, in-form Richie Towell who was named April’s SSE Airtiricty/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland ‘Player of the Month’.
The 23-year-old netted seven goals in five games as the ‘Lilywhites’ moved four points clear at the top of the Premier Division table.
Meanwhile Derry, who are seeking a first victory over Dundalk in seven attempts, have failed to win in their last three league games.
And while they go into tomorrow’s match as underdogs, City boss, Hutton is expecting a response from his players.
“No one will give us a chance if you look at their last game and our last game,” he said. “All the critics will be out waiting to pounce again but that’s part and parcel of the challenge and if I was a player and I was in this position I couldn’t wait; I’d be chomping at the bit to get at Dundalk.
“It’s massive challenge but let’s take them on. It is a big challenge but it’s one we should relish and having seen them in training our players will need no motivation to take on Dundalk.”