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Lilywhites leading the way on all fronts

DUNDALK midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins has stated that the league leaders have put aside thoughts of Friday's vital local derby against Drogheda United to focus on today's EA Sports Cup semi-final clash with Wexford Youths.

Last Friday's superb 2-1 win away to second-placed Cork City leave Dundalk six points clear at the top and their next game, a derby away to a Drogheda side revived by new boss Damien Richardson, will be a big test in Dundalk's bid to land the league title.

But their semi-final at home to Wexford today (5pm) is still a key game for Stephen Kenny's side.

"We can enjoy the three points but we don't have much time to rest. We move on and we're heading into a big week for the club. A semi-final is huge for us and Wexford Youths are a good side. Then we have the Louth derby but we are focused on the semi-final and hopefully we can get through," says Higgins, who played a part in that win over Cork, City's first home defeat in 13 months.

"It was a very important victory for us. It was a good three points. We fought really hard and it was a real battle. We really played well. Conditions were difficult but we managed to get it done.

" Losing the goal late on and getting the win was crucial but we were excellent on the night," the former Derry City and Bohemians man added.

Keeping the show on the road is a big test for Dundalk and Kenny, as today's game is their 35th competitive match of the season, with potentially another 16 games to come, depending on their cup form.

The Lilywhites are keen to renew acquaintances with the EA Sports Cup: the League Cup, as it was known then, came to Oriel Park four times in the space of 12 years, but their last time to land the trophy was back in 1990. However Kenny has a superb record in the League Cup, winning it four times in his spells at Derry City boss.

Kenny will use the game to shuffle his pack and give a runout to squad players like Mark Rossiter and Keith Ward.