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Unbeaten Derry City host Pete Mahon’s Drogheda United at Maginn Park on Saturday afternoon as the visitors look to bounce back following two defeats in a row.
Derry City come into this game with nine points from nine on the board following victories over Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk.
Kenny Shiels side did fall behind against Dundalk after Dane Massey scored sixteen minutes in. However, a Nathan Boyle equalizer just before half time followed by second half goals from Barry McNamee and captain Ryan McBride meant it was Derry who ran out 3-1 winners against the defending league champions.
The Candystripes have played a game less than their rivals due to a floodlight failure forcing their game against Limerick to be abandoned in the first half. That fixture has been rescheduled for this coming Tuesday.
Kenny Shiels has called on the supporters to again turn out like they did against Dundalk on Monday.
"I go to Irish League matches when I can on Saturday afternoons and there’s not the same passion coming from the stands. I’m not being critical, it’s just what I feel," Shiels told the Derry Journal.
"The supporters, the die-hards, we want them to come along and give us the same passion as they did on Monday night. We need the crowd to support us and give us a lift again.
"If our crowd doesn’t turn up on Saturday, then it’s going to be difficult for us because of the youth that’s in our team. Young players get so much form the supporters. They draw from the passion which comes from the terraces. I’m pleading with them to come and lend their support," Shiels said when speaking to www.derryjournal.com.
In team news, Rory Patterson and Conor McDermott again look set to be unavailable through injury. However, Lukas Schubert is again available after serving a one game suspension.
After winning both of their opening games against Galway United and St. Patrick’s Athletic, Drogheda United fell to two defeats in four days.
A 4-1 defeat to Cork City last Friday was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Bray Wanderers on Monday. The Boynesiders finished both games with ten men and while he believes Richie Purdy should not have been sent off against Cork, Pete Mahon could not say the same about defender Luke Gallagher’s red card in Bray.
“I can’t accept players getting booked for dissent. Luke Gallagher got booked for something he said to the ref and then gave him an easy decision to make a few minutes later. We’re hoping it’s something that the rest of the squad can learn from," Mahon told www.droghedaunited.ie.
Having tipped Derry for the title at the beginning of the season, Mahon is under no illusions about the task his side face at Maginn Park on Saturday afternoon but is confident his side has the ability to end their losing run.
"I’ve never been to Maginn Park so I’m looking forward to the experience. I hear it’s going to be a sellout and it’ll be another fantastic learning experience for our players.
"The games are coming thick and fast for us at the moment and having lost two in a row, we are eager to put that right. If we play to our potential and cut out the mistakes, I don’t see why we can’t end that run on Saturday."
In team news, Killian Brennan continues to miss out as he recovers from a broken collarbone. Luke Gallagher is suspended following his red card in Bray but Richie Purdy is available for the trip to Buncrana. However, Purdy will again be suspended next week, following the Derry game, when the second half of his suspension takes place.
Referee: Ray Matthews.
These sides faced each other in the FAI Cup last season with Drogheda, then in the First Division, taking Derry to a replay where the Candystripes eventually won 2-1.
Drogheda have scored five times in their opening four games while Derry have found the net eight times, despite playing a game less than their opponents.
The last six meetings between these sides have ended in three wins for Derry, one for Drogheda and two draws. Three of those games were in cup competition.
Derry City 8/15; Draw 3/1; Drogheda United 11/2.
Derry City 2-1 Drogheda United
Injured: Rory Patterson, Conor McDermott.
Injured: Killian Brennan (broken collarbone).
Suspended: Luke Gallagher.