JUBILANT Drogheda United manager Kevin Doherty says he hopes the momentum generated by two unexpected wins on the bounce will give his team an extra boost heading into Friday’s clash with Bohemians at Dalymount Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Boynesiders opened up the title race just a little by inflicting a shock 1-0 defeat on leaders Shamrock Rovers at Head in the Game Park on Monday night.
However, mental and physical fatigue could be an issue for the part-timers who also had to dig deep to beat Finn Harps last Friday night after playing a quarter of the match with 10 men.
“We’ll see how they are on Wednesday (at training),” said Doherty, speaking after the victory over Rovers.
“But sometimes momentum gets you through these things. Winning Friday (against Finn Harps) helped us tonight. We won’t do loads of training - we’ll be in twice (before Friday) - but we won’t do loads.
“But it’s going to be tough going to Dalymount. They’re a good side, they were beaten tonight and it’s our third game in a week.
“I was going to say we’ll enjoy tonight, but it’s home to bed and work in the morning, so not too much enjoying.
“But there’s a lot of satisfaction.”
The two wins leave Drogheda nine points clear of second-bottom Harps, but Doherty isn’t going to start revising his squad’s targets with more than half the season still to run.
“I haven’t look at the table yet,” he said. “I’d be happy if we finished nine ahead of Finn Harps or even one ahead, to be honest. That was our objective coming into the season.
“That’s not to say it’ll be Finn Harps - it could be UCD or other teams.”
Just as Drogheda’s injury list seemed to be easing, skipper Dane Massey picked up a knock in the warm-up and was substituted in the ninth minute of Monday’s match after failing to run off the injury.
It’s not yet clear if he’ll be available for selection on Friday, but the Boynesiders will at least have Sean Roughan available for selection against Bohs after he served a one-match ban against Rovers following his sending-off last Friday.
Darragh Markey is unlikely to be risked after going over on his ankle in training last week just as he was poised to make his comeback.
Meanwhile, the Lincoln City chief executive and director of football met with Doherty after Monday night’s match regarding the loan arrangements for Roughan and goalkeeper Sam Long.
The Drogheda manager wants both players to stay with the club until the end of the League of Ireland season, but while the situation is complicated by the recent appointment of former Republic of Ireland international Mark Kennedy as the club’s new head coach, Doherty doesn’t appear too confident that the Boynesiders will get their way.
“We won’t know until later into June,” he said, speaking on Tuesday afternoon.
“The whole new manager thing has thrown everyone and everything over there.
“Being honest, though, there is a possibility that both (players) could be recalled in the window.”
In the immediate aftermath of Monday’s victory, though, Doherty was just thrilled that his side got their just desserts.
“They’re the best team in the country by a mile and they’ll go on and win the league, I’ve no doubt about that. They had an extra day’s rest than us. They’re full-time, they’ve a much bigger squad, much bigger resources and most of our lads were in work today.
“To be able to put that shift in is frightening. We lost our captain after a few minutes and we were down to the bare bones already and the lads that played were absolutely magnificent and I’m so, so proud of them.”
The result was all the more impressive because Massey’s injury resulted in four positional changes very early in the game.
“It was unbelievable,” said Doherty. “It was mad. I don’t think Georgie Poynton’s probably ever played left-back before, Evan Weir went in at centre-back and was brilliant. Keith Cowan’s a massive leader and Deega (Gary Deegan). Every one of them, I’m delighted for them.
“It’s a great result for the club and for the team.”