“It’s very unfortunate for David,” says manager Stephen Kenny. “Patrick Hoban and David really have been exceptional this year. They have scored a lot of goals and have been terrific, but Mark Griffin can come to the fore now. He has a chance to come in now and make a difference.”
With three Premier Division teams involved in the FAI Cup on Sunday, Dundalk will not be in league action again until next Friday when they’re away to bottom club Athlone Town.
That gives chasing Cork City a chance to level the race on points tonight – albeit Dundalk will have a game in hand and retain a vastly superior goal difference — when they host Drogheda United at Turner’s Cross, where the presence in the visiting party of City’s former manager Damien Richardson will be a reminder of the last time the Leesiders won the league title, under his stewardship, in 2005.
“It will be highly unusual for me to be in the opposition dugout in Turner’s Cross, but it is the top venue for football in the country,” says Richardson. “It’s a fantastic stadium and, with Cork City flying high, there will be a huge crowd and that will only add to the occasion. I think the team is looking forward to it as much as I am but, given my time there, I know what a torrid place it can be when players don’t perform.”
“It’s another huge game for us,” says City boss John Caulfield.
“We’ve probably been a pain in the backside for people, because we’re still there and we’ve hung in there all season even though we’ve been written off all year.
“We’re the only team that can give Dundalk a run for it. If we can keep our feet on the ground, give another good performance tonight and get another result, then we can keep the pressure on them.”
Cauflield is hopeful injury concerns John O’Flynn and Josh O’Shea will both be available for selection but Colin Healy misses out through suspension. Drogheda will be without the suspended Peter McGlynn while Gary O’Neill is a slight doubt with a groin injury.
Tonight’s game, which is live on Setanta Ireland, has a later kick off time of 8pm.
In tonight’s only other Premier Division fixture, Limerick host Athlone Town at Thomond Park (7.45) while, in the First Division, it’s Waterford United v Cobh Ramblers (7.45), Longford Town v Shamrock Rovers B (8pm) and Shelbourne v Galway (8pm).