DUNDALK FC Coach John Whyte has hinted that the club will turn to the younger players in the squad when they travel to the Brandywell on Friday night as they hope to get back on track following the 6-0 drubbing to Shamrock Rovers.
The 2002 FAI Cup winner said that too many players have been under-performing in recent weeks and following the humiliation in Tallaght, patience now seems to be wearing thin amongst the Dundalk coaching staff.
“Derry is going to be a difficult trip. We’ll go in Monday morning and see how we can put things right. I know people are very frustrated but what is done is done and we have to pick up the pieces.”
“A couple of the players have done really well but some of the players have to ask themselves questions. Players can’t not keep performing - for whatever reason. We can’t put our finger on it.
“The young lads are going to have to step up and the likes of Bob McKenna, Peter Thomas and Chris Reilly are great lads to bring in. It’s very difficult to throw them into situations like this”, he admitted. “But they’re going to be thrown in at the deep end because as we can see, some of the players aren’t performing to their full potential.”
With the playing budget set at over 7k a week, supporters have questioned Sean McCaffrey’s recruitment policy. The manager’s decision to go with unproven younger players has yet to convince many supporters but Whyte said that they were left with no option but to go down that route.
“With the budget that was available for us, we went out to get as many players as possible with it. However any experienced player was looking for colossal money and unfortunately we couldn’t sign any of those players. And also, at that stage, there were a lot of players who weren’t available to us.”
White said he was unaware that the likes of Simon Madden and Jason Byrne were looking to remain at Oriel Park.
“That’s news to me”, he said. “I can’t really answer that as I don’t know”.
Turning to the performance against Rovers, Whyte said he was disappointed in the manner which Dundalk crumbled, especially after such a bright start.
“I thought just before they scored we were doing quite well. We were containing them well but when we lost the first goal and then conceded again so quickly after, it didn’t give us a chance to recover.
“We changed it at half-time and wanted to go man for man but it just didn’t happen for us. The third goal was a killer. We gave the ball away and straight away they got a free-kick and scored from it. There wasn’t even a minute gone in the second-half!
“Maybe if we had pulled one back things might have been slightly different. Gary Shanahan had a great chance but he opted to square the ball for Bob McKenna when he should have shot himself. At 3-1 it would have been more respectable but it’s shocking that we conceded so many goals.”
Dundalk have now conceded 12 goals in their first seven games. Perhaps more worryingly however is the fact that they have scored in just one of those outings, a 2-1 win over UCD.
“I was a supporter for long enough myself and I know they want to see us scoring goals. It’s unfortunate that we’re not putting the ball in the net. The lads are working very hard up front and they’re grafting in midfield but we’re not creating enough chances.”
The absence of Marc Griffin has really hit Dundalk hard. The club are hoping to have the talented striker available in the not too distant future but Whyte conceded that he will not be the answer to all of Dundalk’s problems.
“Your second season is always the most difficult in this league. You can be a surprise or flash in the pan in the first so hopefully there’s not too much pressure on him.
“Griff is frustrated. At times he’s getting conflicting reports about the time when he will be back and it’s very frustrating for him and for us. Everybody wants him back. We need somebody who will score 15 goals a season.”