Having lost two matches in quick succession, Dundalk will be desperate to get back to winning ways on Monday night when they welcome an in-form Bohemians side to Oriel Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
Away defeats at St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers have seen Dundalk drop to fourth in the SSE Airtricity League – 13 points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers, who have played two games extra.
The worrying aspect from Dundalk’s point of view from both of those matches was their inability to create enough clear-cut chances, instead they have looked a shadow of the side that won the double in 2018.
“We were disappointed with how things went on Friday. The start we had wasn’t great and we were on the backfoot from there,” lamented Gary Rogers following their most recent defeat in Sligo.
“We battled well to get back into it but we didn’t create enough clear-cut opportunities to get anything from the game. We had chances in the first half to get something but it didn’t happen.
“It’s disappointing but we will move on and try get back on track. It’s always a difficult venue to go to, playing Sligo is always tough as we have found out before.
“We didn’t do enough on the night and that is how it went. We have had a good record there but Friday was frustrating and not a good night for us but we have a game quickly to put things right.
“We haven’t got the results that we have wanted and it’s tough at the moment but better to have that now than later on in the season. We just need to get the results that we need and that will happen soon.”
The Lilywhites haven’t got too long to dwell on those recent defeats as they begin an arduous schedule which comprises five matches in just over three weeks, starting with the visit of Bohs.
“We have a game to rectify things against Bohemians. They have had a fantastic start to the season. They are on a high at the moment,” continued Rogers.
“They will be tough for us and they will be confident coming to Oriel but we want to get back to winning ways, we have been good at home and the aim for Monday is to get the three points.”
Dundalk are again severely depleted for this match with Sean Murray joining Robbie Benson, Patrick McEleney and Chris Shields on the treatment table while Sean Hoare will undergo a late fitness test.
Keith Long’s side continued their impressive start to the campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Finn Harps in Ballybofey on Friday night thanks to Daniel Grant’s first goal of the season.
It was Bohs’ third win on the bounce and moved them up to second in the table and onto 20 points after nine matches – that’s 12 points more than they had accumulated at the same stage last year.
That win over Harps has also made it the Gypsies’ best start to a league campaign since their last title-winning season of 2009 when they again collected a tally of 20 points from their first nine fixtures.
Bohs faced Dundalk six times in all competitions last season and lost five of those encounters before drawing with the champions at Dalymount Park in the final league match of the 2018 campaign.
It is understood that Keith Ward – who hobbled off injured in the win over Harps – will be fit and ready to face his former employers.
Rob Cornwall should return to a defence that has conceded just three goals so far after serving a one-match suspension, but Cristian Magerusan is likely to again miss out due to a cruciate injury.
Two defeats in succession means that Dundalk are now in danger of losing three consecutive league matches for the first time since their ill-fated 2012 campaign should they lose against Bohemians.
That’s in stark contrast to their last home meeting with Bohs, when the Lilywhites broke a 50-year club record for consecutive league wins (11) when they beat the Gypsies 2-0 at Oriel Park last July.
Speaking of club records, Patrick Hoban – with 67 goals in 105 appearances – is now just a hat-trick away from breaking a long-standing record haul of League of Ireland goals for the Co Louth outfit.
That particular record was last broken 80 years ago by Joey Donnelly, who overtook Eddie Carroll (47 goals) as the club’s record league goalscorer thanks to a brace against Bohemians in February 1939.
Dundalk 8/15; Draw 14/5; Bohemians 11/2
Dundalk 2-1 Bohemians
Injured: Sean Murray, Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney, Robbie Benson.
Doubtful: Sean Hoare.
Doubtful: Cristian Magerusan.
Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth said his side were not good enough last night against Sligo Rovers and could have lost by more.— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) April 13, 2019
"They outbattled us and in seven years here I haven't seen that before." #SoccerRepublic pic.twitter.com/pjJ37Ea3c3