By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United will look to return to winning ways when they face Athlone Town at Lissywollen on Friday night, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Boynesiders suffered only their second defeat of the season last week as they lost 2-1 away to Finn Harps, a result which sees them slip to third in the table.
Sean Brennan had given Drogheda a first-half lead with a well taken free-kick but second-half strikes from Keith Cowan and Ciaran O’Connor meant the Drogs returned home pointless much to the frustration of manager Tim Clancy.
“It was a tough defeat to take,” the Trim native explained Wednesday evening. “We started the game so well and fully deserved the lead through Sean’s excellent free-kick. We didn’t really want half-time to come as we were on top and looking for the second goal.
“I have to give credit to Harps, they were a different side after the break. Paddy McCourt made a huge difference for them but there’s no doubt we could’ve defended better. It’s an important lesson that the lads will need to learn from.”
Drogheda’s previous league defeat, a 3-2 reversal away to Cabinteely, was followed-up by three wins in their next four games and Clancy is hoping for a similar response now.
“There are going to be ups and downs all the way throughout the season. We’re still in a very good position in the league but it’s key that we put last week’s result behind us. There’s a small gap opening up behind UCD but there’s only a couple of points then separating four or five sides.”
United started their campaign off with a 6-0 victory over Athlone at United Park back in March but Clancy is wary of a new manager bounce from The Town.
“We’ve all seen it countless of times; players always find that extra few percent when there’s a new manager in charge.
“I know results haven’t gone their way so far this season but the draw they picked up at home to Finn Harps should act as a warning to us.
“We need to be fully professional and get back to the performance levels that we know we’re capable of.”
Drogheda have no suspension concerns but both Lloyd Buckley and Luke Gallagher are doubtful through injury.