Dundalk boss Vinny Perth has said that Dundalk will not get into “excuse-making mode” about the shock loss of Chris Shields through suspension for the FAI Cup Final against Shamrock Rovers.
But the Lilywhites head coach said he will wait until after Sunday’s big game before getting into the mechanics of how the midfielder was left exposed to the risk of picking up what proved a hugely costly yellow card – his eighth of the season - by playing in what was effectively a dead rubber league game for the champions against Cork City two weeks ago.
"I have always been open and honest with the media but I think that I can leave the ins and outs of it until after Sunday,” Perth said today.
"Look, there are loads of different things that could and should have happened. As head of the football club I take responsibility for it, the football part of it. I'll go into the ins and outs of if after Sunday. I don't think that we need to get into excuse-making mode in way, shape or form. We accept it and move on.
“Chris is extremely disappointed but there you go, we have accepted it and the rest of the squad has. Remember, I look after 24 players in the squad and another seven or eight members of staff. There are 24 people looking forward to this weekend. It's just unfortunate for Chris as a person. I think that we are known as a free-flowing football team with a lot of skilful players - Duffy, McEleney, Hoban's goals. And he is slightly different than them but he is Mr Dundalk at the same time so it's very disappointing for him.”
Replacing Shields will not be straight-forward, he conceded.
“It’s probably the one position where we don’t have an exact replica,” he said. “But we’ve dealt with not having Chris at the start of the season. He was missing for the first four games of the season with a knee ligament, so we’ve coped before.
"The one thing we do is we train in a structured way where we work on different scenarios. We’re prepared for this. It will be a big noise for everyone else, and it will be the chatter of the town. But we’ve accepted it over the weekend and we move on.”