Tuesday 20 February 2018

Few home comforts as Kenny welcomes his old employers

Marcus Cavaroli

THE daunting home games just keep coming for Dundalk and on Friday next they welcome Stephen Kenny's old club Derry City who are looking for a fifth consecutive victory and clean sheet.

Declan Devine's charges have banged in 11 goals in that winning streak which doesn't include the 6-0 roasting handed out to UCD at Belfield earlier in the campaign, but Kenny is insisting that the Lilywhites won't abandon the attacking style of play that has seen them climb to third in the table.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, the Dundalk boss said: 'Derry are flying at the minute and people have them as title favourites with Sligo and rightly so, but from our point of view we have only had one defeat in seven games with a new group.

'Considering we have played the top four, that's terrific, and we can't have an inferiority complex, whoever we play.

'Maybe we got the breaks a bit against St Pat's [last Tuesday] and we had to show a resolute defensive side to our game when we needed to, but we were unfortunate not to win last Friday and our style of play definitely won't change.

'Our midfielders have been terrific and we have got to utilise the potential we have got in midfield and play to their strengths. There's no point bypassing them and getting them to chase second balls.'

Kenny is well aware of the threat posed by the in-form Michael Rafter and Mark Griffin, who formed the Dundalk strikeforce last season, but also holds another former Oriel Park favourite in high regard.

'Michael and Mark made the decision to go to Derry pretty quick and there's also Simon Madden who is a real threat from right-back and is very attacking and gets forward very well.

'They are all good players and it has the makings of a good game. Derry are on a good run and there will be periods when we are up against it, but we have to be confident going into the game.'

Kenny will assess the fitness of his captain Stephen O'Donnell nearer to Friday's game, but both Mark Rossiter and John Mountney are expected to shake off minor knocks and will be available to play.

Meanwhile, the manager said he accepted part of the blame for the way Dundalk shipped two goals in Friday's 2-2 draw against Limerick. Kenny has stated a number of times that he wanted to see his squad playing their way up the field, but in doing so Rossiter lost possession, resulting in Limerick taking the lead in the first half.

'We did get punished for the expansive game we play and I take responsibility for that,' he said, 'but I'm encouraging the players to play from those areas, and as we improve these errors will become less and less.'

The Argus

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