Drogheda United will entertain Limerick on Friday night in a ‘proverbial six-pointer’ clash according to United manager Robbie Horgan.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Drogheda since their last home game versus Bohemians. Since that narrow victory, the Boynesiders endured a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of their local rivals Dundalk which was followed up by a 2-0 defeat to Derry City last Friday.
Despite the reversal against the Candystripes, Horgan believes that his side have responded well to the negative results and are improving with each passing game.
“I feel the lads gave a good response against Derry based on what happened at Dundalk, which we have now drawn a line through. We were disappointed with the goal we conceded in the first half as we were well in the contest. As the game progressed, we pushed more bodies forward for the equaliser but we were caught on the counter-attack which was a real sucker punch. Performance wise, it was much better but we still have a lot more improving to do.”
With a run of eight defeats in the last nine league games, it would be understandable to imagine that Drogheda would rather not face a Limerick side that overturned the reigning champions last week. However, the Drogheda manager is confident that his side can return to winning ways.
“Obviously it was an excellent victory for them against St. Pat’s last week but the reports I heard would suggest that there was some luck involved. We won our last home game against Bohs, which was a battle but we have beaten Limerick earlier this season and we will try to recreate those type of performances tomorrow night.”
United will be without Michéal Schlingermann and Stephen Maher due to injury while Michael Daly will be unavailable due to suspension but both Gavin Brennan and Eric Foley will return to the side.
The Shannonsiders will come into the game full of confidence having recorded only their second home win of the season last week against St. Patrick’s Athletic. That victory saw Limerick close the gap on Drogheda in eight to two points ahead of tonight’s game.
With regards that shock result, Limerick manager Stuart Taylor emphasised the importance of the victory and how it had been long overdue for his side.
“Confidence has rocketed through the roof because the players got what they thoroughly deserved. We’ve spoken about it – it has been coming for weeks and it was great to see that we eventually got it. And no game more fitting than for it to be against the champions from last season and also in front of our home support.”
Limerick failed to beat Drogheda in any of the four encounters since their promotion in 2013 and Taylor is expecting another difficult encounter.
“Drogheda will be up for it, there’s no doubt about that. They’ll not be looking forward to playing us – I think that’d be the case for most teams. It’s a very difficult ground to play in. It’s not the nicest of stadiums or the nicest of dressing-rooms. It’s a nice pitch but it’s a tight pitch.
“But it doesn’t matter what it is or where you are, you just go out and settle into the environment you’re in, you do a professional job and you get the three points and come back down the road – simple as that.”
The Super Blues will be without both Robbie Williams and Shane Costelloe due to injury.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Drogheda United won the reverse fixture earlier in the season; Declan O’Brien’s solitary strike was enough for a 1-0 win at Thomond Park.
Limerick manager Stuart Taylor is a former Drogheda player having spent the 2002/3 season with United, helping them to avoid relegation.
The Super Blues have only won once away from home this season; picking up a 1-0 victory over Bohemians back in April.
Drogheda United 8/5, Draw 11/5 , Limerick 8/5
Drogheda United 1-1 Limerick
Injured: Michéal Schlingermann, Stephen Maher
Suspended: Michael Daly
Injured: Robbie Williams, Shane Costelloe