Sunday 19 November 2017

In-form Daly feels super Drogs are right back on song

Michael Daly, Drogheda United
Michael Daly, Drogheda United

Marcus Cavaroli

MICHAEL Daly insists he's not even contemplating the possibility of relegation and he's more interested in helping Drogheda achieve a top-five finish in the Premier Division.

A run of nine games without a league win had dragged the Boynesiders to within touching distance of the bottom two, but three great results in the past week have boosted spirits around Hunky Dorys Park and the defender still believes the Drogs can make significant progress up the table.

Speaking after Friday's game, the 24-year-old said: 'I don't think it's turned around this week. The point when I thought it turned around was probably Malmo at home and after that we got a few draws, but we were playing well, the confidence was high and we knew the wins would come.

'We've played a lot of games, more than anyone else in the league, so I think our league form reflected that. Instead of going for wins we were accepting draws through tiredness from the effort we'd put in in previous games.

'But we have a nice stretch now where we're only going to have one game a week and we expect to start getting three points regularly.'

Drogheda hope to make it three wins in 11 days when they pay their third visit of the season to The Brandywell on Friday, this time in the league, and having won there in the EA Sports Cup semi-final last week Daly is confident of another good result.

'I'm not even thinking about safety. Personally I want to get into the top five. It mightn't be realistic, but if we can go unbeaten until the end of the season I don't see why not.

'We played Pats last week and I thought we were the better team. We passed Derry off the park and we passed Limerick off the park - all teams ahead of us and we were the better team in all three games.

'UCD, Shels and Bohs, it was a travesty how we'd didn't win at least two of those games, but we'll have fresher legs now and the formation seems settled which is helping.

'I enjoy the crowd at The Brandywell. It's a long way and I don't like the trip, but we've done well and haven't been beaten there this year.

'They're a very similar team to us, I find. They're very good at stopping other teams playing, but when they come up against us we're as good as anyone in the league at that.

'Now, as you've seen, we're starting to play a bit and look good and I wouldn't be afraid of anyone in the league at the minute.'

Daly was one of the heroes of the victory over Limerick, supplying two assists from the right-back position as the Boynesiders made it seven points out of nine against the Shannonsiders this season.

'If only we had that against everyone we'd be top of the

league!' he quipped. 'I'll take any assist I can. A header for the first and then I saw Gavin making the run and decided I'd hoof it to him.'

Declan O'Brien was on the end of Daly's header to score the all-important first goal, and the supplier couldn't speak highly enough of the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

'You talk about legends in clubs - lads like Kevin Hunt at Bohs - and there's no bigger legend at this club than him. He's top quality, a good influence around the dressing-room.

'Look at the fella - he's about 5% body fat and keeps himself In great shape. He says he has one more year in him, but the way he's playing he has five.'

With the departures of both the club's recognised full-backs, namely Brian Gannon and Stephen Quigley, Daly seems to have made the position his own - although the recent arrival of Gavin Holohan should keep him on his toes.

'Gavin is a talented player on the ball. I've seen bits and pieces in training and you can see his ability, but game time which is completely different and we'll see how he gets on.

'I never really played there [right-back] before and I had a few shaky games at the start. Against Bray away I was absolutely horrendous and that's when I said to myself to get my head down, get 100% fit and try and learn the position. It is a bit different and I always thought of myself as a centre-mid, but I am enjoying it now.'

Drogheda Independent

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