In a game that could see either side go second, for at least 24 hours, the unseasonal weather aside, this Louth derby won’t lack any bite. Stephen Kenny will be hoping to climb into second place ahead of Derry City after a promising start to the season. Drogheda will also be able to jump into second place if they improve on their early season form.
Stephen Kenny’s side held his old club Shamrock Rovers to a scoreless draw on the opening day of their season at Oriel Park. Back to back victories over Shelbourne followed – one in the EA Sports Cup – and despite then losing to league leaders Sligo Rovers they bounced back last weekend with a 2-1 victory away to early season strugglers, U.C.D.
After an opening day defeat to St. Patricks Athletic, Drogheda gained some momentum with draws at home to Limerick and away to Derry City. Last weekend saw their first league win of the season over Bray Wanderers after the disappointment of their high profile friendly with Turkish side Trabzonspor was called off three days beforehand due to the inclement weather.
Ex-Shamrock Rovers midfielder Stephen McDonnell will miss out for the Lilywhites who is out for a minimum of three weeks with a calf injury. With no early season suspensions this is the only injury concern for Kenny in a fixture that Dundalk failed to win in any of the two sides three meetings last season.
Stephen Kenny has spoken this week about the good feeling around the club and the confidence their strong start has instilled in his side. But Kenny is presuming nothing, advising Drogheda “have good players and have done very well. I am pleased with our preparation though. Our focus has been very, very good and we’re ready for it. These derbies always have an edge but we can’t get caught up on that. We have to concentrate on the football and go out there to win.”
Mick Cooke will be looking to build on the Bray victory and will be calling for his side to dig deep again in a game they will be desperate to win to maintain their momentum. The artificial pitch and the weather won’t aide the hopes of Cooke’s troops and a draw would be a reasonable result, all things considered. It’s 21 years since there was a scoreless draw between these two sides at Oriel Park. Thursday night though, could put an end to that record