Dundalk boss Vinny Perth: Shamrock Rovers tie 'isn't that big of a game - it will be played up by everybody else'

Wed, Feb 26 2020

Perth says the Friday-Monday Premier Division schedule hasn't allowed his side to look further than the next game. Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

Dundalk manager Vinny Perth has played down the significance of Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash away to Shamrock Rovers.

The teams, who finished first and second in the league last season before Rovers won the FAI Cup at the Aviva Stadium in November, both go into the game with three wins from three.

One or both of them will cede their 100% record on Friday night in Tallaght but Perth insisted the three points on offer are the same as in any other game.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a game,” Perth told extratime.ie reporter Oisín Langan following his side’s comfortable 3-0 win over Cork City on Monday night.

Read Tom O'Connor's report from Oriel Park here.

“It would be played up by everybody else, I think it’s three points and whoever wins or loses will bounce back the following week, if they have to. That’s just the way it goes.

“Both teams will want to win and there’ll be a bit of rivalry around that game, but I haven’t thought about it yet because I’ve had so much work ahead of it.

“When you go Friday-Monday, if you start looking too far ahead you waste energy. We’ll worry about that game [now] – that will look after itself.”

The Hoops will be without top scorer Graham Burke – who scored five in their 6-0 demolition of City last Friday – but Stephen Bradley may hand a debut to new signing Rory Gaffney.

Dundalk have had some injury problems of their own, with Georgie Kelly and Patrick McEleney both sitting out the early weeks of the season, though Kelly has returned to full training.

Nevertheless, Perth was able to name a frontline of Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban and new signing Cammy Smith, and they created a hatful of chances against Dundalk.

“We created a huge amount of chances, vast amounts of crosses into the box. We came up against another packed defence.

“We’re starting to see the stats regularly from our league and I’d imagine we broke 65% possession tonight, scored three goals. If you won every game 3-0 at home, you wouldn’t be complaining.

“I’m not sure we wasted a lot of chances [in the first half] but Dan Cleary should have scored a header. Just in that finally third, we lacked a little bit.

“We had a lot of crosses, as I said, but lacked a little bit of some magic. That comes after Friday-Monday, sometimes it happens like that.

“We just need to do things a little bit quicker, get them on the back foot. We had a throw-in [in the first half] and it took our players 45-50 seconds to get set.

“At the start of the second half, we got a free kick. Chris Shields is still on the ground and he plays it and we attack and we almost score. That’s what we worked on at half time and it paid off.”

Additional reporting by Oisín Langan