By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United will go in search of only their second away win this season when they face Finn Harps at Finn Park Friday night, kick-off 8pm.
The Drogs ended a six-match losing run with a late 2-1 home win over Shamrock Rovers a fortnight ago but their difficulties on the road were evident again last week.
Having conceded twice within the opening seven minutes, Drogheda United manager Pete Mahon was left frustrated with his side’s sloppy start as they lost 3-0 away at Limerick.
“We were absolutely dreadful,” Mahon admitted Wednesday evening. “It was by far our worst performance of the season. We weren’t there mentally which you could see from the awful start we made.
“I think Limerick took it easy on us after scoring the third goal as it could’ve been much worse. We’ve dusted ourselves off and are preparing well now for Friday’s game.
“The players know that any kind of a repeat performance like that will be completely unacceptable.”
With back-to-back home games against fellow bottom-half sides Sligo Rovers and Galway United to follow, Mahon is acutely aware that his side is entering a crucial stage of the season.
“We only have nine points at the moment and that’s not enough. We set ourselves the target of around 13 points from the first round of games so there’s obviously a lot of work to do in the remaining two games.
“Our next four games are huge for us and could really shape our season. We need to get into the habit of picking up points and that’ll give us momentum to hopefully kick on in the second round of games.”
Harps, having beaten Derry City 2-0 at the Brandywell last week, sit two points ahead of the Boynesiders in the table and Mahon is expecting a difficult encounter.
“They’re doing really well so far and they’re a physical team to play against. I think Harps have that knack of picking up results even when they haven’t played particularly well and it’s something we can learn from.
“It’s not an easy place to get to and it’s not ideal with the players needing to get time off work. I’ve said it before but there are no easy games in this division and we’ll be looking for a huge improvement in our performance.”
Drogheda will be without Thomas Byrne and Eoghan Dempsey who are away on international duty with Ireland. Sean Brennan is unavailable through suspension while Lloyd Buckley and Killian Brennan miss out due to injury.
Both Gavin Brennan and Marc Griffin will be available for selection having overcome knocks.