Pat Fenlon: Dundalk fired up for trip to Tallaght

The season might still be young but three games in the next seven days will tell a lot about Dundalk’s ability to successfully defend their Airtricity League title.

Pat Fenlon: Dundalk fired up for trip to Tallaght

The league leaders will be at home to Galway on Monday but their busy week will be bookended by two testing away days, at Turner’s Cross next Friday and, tonight, at Tallaght Stadium (8pm).

On his return to his former club Shamrock Rovers — who are four points behind but remain unbeaten in the league under Pat Fenlon — Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny has a full squad from which to choose and no intention of settling for a point.

“It doesn’t matter to us whether the match is home or away, it’s irrelevant,” he said.

“We will approach the game the same and go into it as we do every other. We will be approaching the game in a positive manner and going out to try win the game.”

Rovers have no injury worries but, in the absence of the suspended Keith Fahey, his former fellow Irish international Stephen McPhail is likely to feature in the starting line-up.

Fenlon said: “It’s a big game for us, Dundalk and the league in general and we’re confident we can get a good result.”

In a fascinating Dublin derby across town, surprise packages Bohemians welcome St Patrick’s Athletic to Dalymount Park with an unfamiliar cushion of five points separating Keith Long’s second-placed side from the Inchicore team.

“It’s important to stay on an even keel,” says the Gypsies boss. “We can’t get too high when we win and we can’t get too low when we lose. The next four games are huge. First Pat’s, and then away to Sligo and Derry in the same week, and Cork the following week. That’s the challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Pats welcome back Greg Bolger, Jason McGuinness, Brendan Clarke and Ian Bermingham but Lee Desmond misses out following his red card against Cork City.

Currently in third, behind Dundalk and Bohs, Cork travel to face a Drogheda United side who, despite being in search of a first win in six, ran the Lilywhites close in last week’s Louth derby.

“Drogheda away is always a tough venue at a very tight ground, and they will definitely be up for it,” says City boss John Caulfield.

“Two weeks ago against Bohemians, at 0-0, they missed a penalty, they had already beaten Sligo, and they were two minutes from getting a draw against Dundalk. We know it will be a huge battle and we are focused on going up there to try and get the three points.”

City hope to have Colin Healy and John O’Flynn available for selection but Karl Sheppard misses out with a calf problem. Drogheda should have both Alan Byrne and Sean Thornton available back from injuries but Neil Yadolahi remains sidelined with a thigh complaint.

Tonight’s other Premier Division games are: Derry City v Bray Wanderers, Galway United v Limerick and Longford Town v Sligo Rovers. And in the First Division, it’s Athlone Town v Cabinteely and UCD v Waterford.

Games kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

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