Continuing their relentless chase of table toppers Shelbourne, Drogheda United host fellow promotion contenders Cabinteely at United Park this evening (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Boynesiders comfortably saw off Limerick at the Markets Field last time out by an unexpected four-one scoreline with new signing Jamie Hollywood scoring on his return to the club.
Also, on the scoresheet was under-19 star Ryan O’Shea, who manager Tim Clancy singled out for praise when speaking to his club’s media team ahead of the visit of the Green and Whites.
“Ryan O’Shea coming on again. He’s been training with us since he finished his leaving cert and he’s done well. That’s exactly what we want to do here, to get young lads to improve and kick on and play first team football.
“Ryan’s been fantastic in training for us since he’s come in and trained full time for us. He came on against Longford and did well and done very well again when he played against Limerick.
“That’s what we’re at. We are going to try and bring players through. It’s an important stage of the season but we’re not afraid to use the younger lads,” Clancy added.
However, while he is pleased with his young players stepping up to the plate, the former Shamrock Rovers defender noted the visit of Cabinteely will be a stern test for his side.
“It’s going to be a tough game; Cabo are very competitive. What Pat Devlin and Eddie have done there has been remarkable this season, punching well above their weight as well.
“They are a very good team who work hard for each other and if we allow them to get a foothold in the game it will be very difficult for us.
“We were 0-0 here last time (at United Park), they ended up beating us 4-1 in the second half when we gave away two penalties, scored an own goal and a sloppy goal from a free kick down the line.
“We know that we can’t make mistakes and can’t take our foot off the gas and are expecting a very tough game.
“I think the scoreline out there when we beat them 5-0 masks it. It’s quite difficult. Hopefully if we can get our foot in the game early doors then we can kick on and hopefully get the three points.”
In terms of team news, the trio of Adam Wixted, James Brown and Mark Hughes will all sit out the visit of Pat Devlin’s charges.
After picking up four points from what looked to be a difficult run of games on paper, Cabinteely know that a win at United Park will set up the final few weeks of their season very nicely.
Having won on their last two visits to Boyneside in both the league and EA Sports Cup, Cabo go to the Co. Louth venue hoping for another priceless three points.
However, their last clash against Tim Clancy’s side saw Cabo fall to their heaviest defeat of the season – a five-nil home defeat.
Speaking ahead of the game to his club’s media team, Devlin was vigilant of how dangerous the game can be for his young side.
“It’s going to be a very tough game. We beat them 4-1 away this season. They beat us 5-0 at home. It could go either way.
“Obviously, it comes down to a little bit of luck on the night. Hopefully we are the team that has the bit of luck.”
The former Bray Wanderers boss added; “Every game we have left is going to a Cup Final. We must treat them as that.
“They are all good teams. We must make our own luck. We have to work hard; and I think we will.”
Cabinteely have a hefty absentee list to contend with as Jack Watson and Eoin Massey will be forced to sit of the action due to suspension. Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters remains side-lined with a foot injury.
Referee: Alan Carey.
There have been nine goals scored in the two league games between the sides so far this season, with Cabinteely winning 4-1 away from home as the Drogs exacted revenge months later thanks to a stunning 5-0 win at Stradbrook.
Pat Devlin’s side have only ever won once at United Park in the league since joining the League of Ireland in 2015. The win came in March 2019.
Tim Clancy’s side are the highest scorers in the 2019 First Division, with 46 goals to their name after 21 league games.
Drogheda United 4/7; Draw 11/4; Cabinteely 7/2.
Drogheda United 3 - 2 Cabinteely.
Injured: James Brown, Adam Wixted, Mark Hughes.
Injured: Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters.
Suspended: Eoin Massey, Jack Watson.