Dundalk will be aiming to make it six consecutive victories in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Friday night when they welcome fourth-place Derry City to Oriel Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
After recording a 2-1 win over top-of-the-table Shamrock Rovers last Friday at the same venue, Dundalk continued their excellent run of form with a 3-0 win over Waterford at the RSC on Monday.
A brace from Michael Duffy along with a goal of the season contender by Jordan Flores saw Vinny Perth’s side cruise past the Blues and stay within four points of Rovers, having played one game less.
“It was a good performance from us on Monday. We scored at the right time and we played well all night. It was a difficult game for us,” first-team coach John Gill told the club’s official website.
“It is a step in the right direction for us and we are getting back towards where we want to be. It was a good win for us and we have managed to get momentum behind us.
“We have had a good run over the past few weeks. We are on a bit of a run ourselves. There’s a good vibe around the camp and we knew it was important to build on Friday.
“We feel we have prepared well for the games over this period and we have got five wins on the bounce. We want to keep that going now.”
Next up for Dundalk is a difficult assignment against Derry, who have been rejuvenated this season under Declan Devine’s management and much like Dundalk, play an attractive brand of football.
“It’s going to be a difficult game tomorrow. Derry City are a good side and have had a good start to the season,” continued Gill.
“I know they were beaten on Monday but they have still got good players and have had a good run so we will be ready and we are looking forward to the game.”
Daniel Kelly and Jamie McGrath were forced off through injury in the win over Waterford and are doubts for this match, but Sean Murray and Stephen Folan have both recovered from their respective injuries.
Dundalk’s only definite absentee is Robbie Benson, who hasn’t played since breaking his leg in February.
The Candystripes will be looking to get back on track when they pay a visit to Dundalk after going down 2-0 to third-place Bohemians at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Monday night.
manager Declan Devine knows exactly size of the task at hand this coming Friday in Oriel Park.
“We’re going to the home of the champions and therefore we know what to expect. Dundalk are a quality side, the best in the league, so we will have to be ready for the challenge,” said Devine.
“The players will get a chance to get a few days off after the game which is a luxury we haven’t been able to afford for a while, so that is something we can look forward to.
“To their credit, they have kept on giving and whilst there a few tired legs on Monday night, we have had a few days recovery time and we go again on Friday.
“Everybody is fit and everybody wants to play, so we will look at our options closer to kick-off.”
Derry’s only absentee for this clash is Michael McCrudden, who hasn’t played since the beginning of March, while Adrian Delap and Ally Gilchrist both return to the fold having missed the defeat to Bohs.
Referee: Rob Hennessey.
Derry City haven’t recorded a victory at Oriel Park since April 2013 when two Rory Patterson penalties along with a Barry McNamee goal cancelled out Vinny Faherty’s opener to win 3-1.
A win for Dundalk would put them on 33 points after 15 matches. That would be two points more than they accumulated at the same stage last year when they went on to win the league title.
Michael Duffy, Dean Jarvis, Georgie Kelly and Patrick McEleney have all in the past played for Derry City, whose goalkeeper Peter Cherrie has previously made over 200 appearances for Dundalk.
Dundalk 2/5; Draw 7/2; Derry City 7/1
Dundalk 2-1 Derry City
Injured: Robbie Benson.
Doubtful: Daniel Kelly, Jamie McGrath.
Injured: Michael McCrudden.