Kenny wary of Limerick backlash
DUNDALK return to league action following the summer break with a trip to Thomond Park next Saturday (7.45) - and manager Stephen Kenny is seeking a performance to match the impressive surroundings.
The Lilywhites cemented their top-four position with successive victories against Sligo Rovers, Drogheda United and St Patrick's before the recess, and if they can continue their almost unblemished away record in the coming weeks - starting against Limerick - they should be in a position to challenge Pats at the top.
However, Kenny is once again forced to shuffle his pack, with Patrick Hoban suspended, Stephen O'Donnell serving the last match of his ban, Keith Ward (cruciate) ruled out for the remainder of the season and John Mountney (ankle) and Stephen McDonnell (knee) both struggling with injuries.
'We have a difficult run of games because we also go to Derry and Cork in the next four weeks, and Limerick are dangerous opponents. They didn't have a couple of good results before the break, but they were down a few players and the break came at a good time for them.
'They have a very strong first-choice eleven and they'll be looking to get back to winning ways.
'We've had three great victories in a row, but we want to build on that. Just because there's a break, that's immaterial - you can't influence whether there's breaks or clusters of games and we have to make sure we're ready for whatever challenge we face.
With Hoban absent, the game offers the likes of Tiarnan Mulvenna and Vinny Faherty an opportunity to stake claims for regular starting places, and Kenny has no qualms with pressing either player into the fray.
Kenny admitted that Ward would be a big loss to the team, but is hoping to bring one or two players in to fill the void, and some trial players will be involved in next Sunday's friendly against Glentoran at Oriel Park (3pm) which has been organised partly to help the Irish League side prepare for their European campaign.
'We do need to supplement the squad because we will have more injuries and more suspensions because a few players like Richie Towell and Dane Massey are on three yellow cards at the moment.
Kenny dismissed talk that Mark Quigley might be set for a dramatic return to Oriel Park, pointing to the vastly different wage structures of Dundalk and the striker's current club Shamrock Rovers.