Drogheda United -v- Shamrock RoversThu, Aug 16 2012
This weekend the Boynesiders have another chance to get a monkey off their back. Last week they recorded their first win over Bohemians since 2007, which is also the last time they beat Shamrock Rovers.
The last meeting between these two sides at the Louth venue was the opening fixture of the season and Drogheda United were on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat, despite taking the lead. However, had someone told them then that upon entering the final series of games they would be in second place, five points ahead of the Tallaght side, then there may have been a few raised eyebrows.
Mick Cooke has only one injury worry ahead of the game, admittedly more of a doubt really, with left back Philip Hand not guaranteed feature. Conor McMahon is suspended for the game but apart from that Cooke boasts a full strength side.
The Drogheda manager feels the pressure is more on their opponents following Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to league leaders Sligo Rovers.
“This is a must-win game for them, but it's crucial for us. If we lose we are still a few points ahead of them in the table. Rovers are another team we haven't beaten since 2007, like Bohemians last week, but this is something I won't be concentrating on.”
Cooke was in attendance on Monday night and he knows that Friday night will not be easy: “The clash in Tallaght on Monday night was a very tactical affair and I think Shamrock Rovers proved how dangerous they are in the second half."
Many feel that Shamrock Rovers' failure to pick up all three points against Sligo on Monday all but ends their title hopes, so should they fail to pick up all three points against Drogheda then that effectively will be that.
The Tallaght side were outplayed in the first 45 minutes against Sligo on Monday but they came out the second half a changed side and salvaged a draw.
The Hoops are on a four game unbeaten run at the moment, their 2-1 reversal away to Ekranas their last defeat.
Still, all is not well at Camp Tallaght and Stephen Kenny’s side were roundly booed on Monday before drawing level. The former Derry City manager is confident that their away form will help them on Friday.
“We have been tight defensively lately and that is a good platform for us to win games from. We have a few good away wins under our belts now and we are going into this game with the aim of getting another one. We know Drogheda will provide tough opposition for us, but a win is certainly our aim."
Kenny will have to make do without Aaron Greene,Graham Gartland and Stephen O'Donnell, while Pat Sullivan will be assessed before the game.
Referee: Damien Hancock.
Since 2007 these sides have met competitively 21 times, Drogheda have won two, Rovers have won 14 and there have been five draws.
Rovers have won four away from home while Drogheda have only lost two at home.
The sides last drew in June 2008 but that was in Tallaght
Drogheda United 21/10, Draw 23/10, Shamrock Rovers 6/5.
With so much at stake i expect this to be tight and a 1-1 draw, which will be Rovers’ ninth 1-1 this season.
Drogheda United Injury News : Philip Hand (doubt).
Drogheda United Suspension News: Conor McMahon.
Shamrock Rovers Injury News: Aaron Greene, Graham Gartland, Stephen O'Donnell, Pat Sullivan (doubt).
Shamrock Rovers Suspension News: None.
P.J. generally covers Drogheda games at HD Park and can generally be found at any Dublin ground when of a loose end on a Friday night.