Striker Hoban suffered an injury playing against Shamrock Rovers
Dundalk’s title aspirations have been rocked by the news that top-scorer Patrick Hoban might not play again until August.
The striker, who has scored eight goals so far this season, missed his side’s scoreless draw away to Shelbourne in Tolka Park on Friday night having torn his quad in the previous week’s 1-0 win over Shamrock Rovers.
While the club remain tight-lipped on Hoban’s injury, it is understood he has been ruled out for four to six weeks – almost certainly putting him out of this Friday’s visit of UCD to Oriel Park (kick-off: 7:45pm).
The setback for the 30-year-old comes at the worst possible time for the Lilywhites given the continued uncertainty surrounding the futures of both Mark Connolly and Lewis Macari.
The two defenders are due to return to their parent clubs, Dundee United and Stoke City, this week, making them immediate potential losses for a squad which has already lost Daniel Williams following his recent return to Swansea.
Speaking after the draw away to Shels on Friday, head coach Stephen O’Donnell reiterated he wanted to keep the pair.
“We’re hopeful on both, so we will see next week, but we’re not the only party involved so hopefully everyone comes to an agreement,” he said.
“Both have been very good. We’ve a good defensive record throughout the whole team but they’ve been outstanding. It’s Lewis’ first half-season in senior football and he has gone from strength to strength.
“Mark has been brilliant too, he and Andy Boyle have formed a really good partnership.”
Regardless of who he has at his disposal this Friday, O’Donnell is expecting a tough test from a UCD team who came from two goals down to claim a point against Dundalk when the sides last met at the UCD Bowl at the start of May.
He said: “They have been very competitive in all their games and we drew 2-2 with them not so long ago, so we’ll treat them with massive respect.
“Andy Myler is doing a great job there, and it’s obviously not easy losing Colm Whelan for the season but they’ve reacted very well and they’ve been bang-on in all the games they’ve played. Friday will be no different and we will need to be at it and at our best to get a result.”