report to follow
by Robert O'Reilly
Drogheda United will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s derby demolition when they take on Derry City at the Brandywell, kick-off 7.45pm. United suffered a crushing 7-0 defeat at the hands of local rivals Dundalk, the biggest margin in Louth derby history.
There were several players missing for Drogheda on the night and it will be a similar story for the journey north as Cathal Brady, Stephen Maher and Michéal Schlingermann are all unavailable due to injured. Gavin Brennan will serve the second of his two-match additional ban for his red card against Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup while Eric Foley will also be suspended following his dismissal in the Dundalk defeat.
Friday’s game will mark the first home match in charge for new Derry city manager Peter Hutton, the former City player was put in charge last week following the departure of Roddy Collins. Hutton will be without the services of David Elebert, Mark Stewart, Cormac Burke and Mark Timlin due to injury while Cliff Byrne is suspended.
The Drogs sit directly above the Candystripes in the SSE Airtricity League table, in the knowledge that a victory for the hosts will see them overtake United into seventh place. There was nothing to separate the sides when they met earlier in the season as an early second half strike from Michael Daly was cancelled out by Derry captain Byrne in a 1-1 draw.
Speaking on Thursday, Drogheda manager Robie Horgan admitted that his side was reeling after the Dundalk defeat but was adamant that they will respond to the criticism.
“For fifty minutes on Tuesday, I felt that we were well in the game and were unfortunate to hit the post early in the second half but the concession of the second goal was vital. We felt that Eric Foley was fouled in the build up but the referee didn’t give the decision and Eric took exception to that which you can’t do. Dundalk are an excellent side and it was always going to be a struggle from that point onwards, saying that you don’t want to get beaten 7-0 by your local rivals. Once the third goal went in, the floodgates opened. As disappointing as the result was, we have to put a line through it and concentrate on Friday.
“There were a few home truths told in the dressing room after the game. Even though we were down to ten men, there are no excuses for conceding seven goals which was embarrassing for the football club. The game plan did work for fifty minutes but football is a ninety-minute game. Our discipline must be better because with eleven men on the pitch we still could have caused an upset. It is important to learn from these mistakes but not to dwell on them either; the great thing about this league is that the games come thick and fast.
“I’m confident that the players will respond to the criticism, nobody involved with the club wants to lose by that margin in any game. The best way to react to a defeat like that isn’t to talk about it but to show it won’t happen again on the pitch. What’s happened has happened and the best way to answer the criticism is to put in a positive performance at the Brandywell tomorrow night.”
Gavan Holohan (Declan O’Brien 46’)
Gary O’Neill (Philly Hughes 80’)
Carl Walshe (Cathal Brady 54’)