DUNDALK begin a busy period when they travel to the west coast to face champions Sligo Rovers on Saturday night.
Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk side sit in fourth place, six points behind the Bit O’Red, and the Lilywhites boss said his side will be looking to make it six wins from seven on the road when they face Ian Baraclough’s men.
“We’ll be looking to go over there and win the game. We can’t be thinking anything else”, said Kenny who is expected to have Mark Rossiter and Chris Shilelds available for selection for the trip.
The clash at the Showgrounds marks the start of a six day period which will see Dundalk play three games. After the Sligo clash they face a trip to Tallaght for the EA Sports Cup second round on Tuesday week, followed by a league game against UCD at Oriel Park three days later.
“I’m not giving out about schedules but t’s too frequent and I’m a bit concerned”, said Kenny. “Three games in six days is not adequate recovery. It’s the third game that suffers.”
Dundalk go to Sligo in good shape and defensively they look secure after racking up a fourth clean sheet in five games in the 1-0 victory over Shelbourne last Friday night.
Kenny singled out the recent performances of centre-back Andy Boyle as one of the main factors in Dundalk’s fantastic start to the campaign whilst he also had kind words for goalkeeper Peter Cherrie who is playing with confidence again after a season to forget last year.
“Peter is looking very calm and assured”, said Kenny, “and there is that composure in the back four now. We have Andy Boyle and he is what you call ‘a player’. He has been brilliant, nothing short of outstanding this season.”
Kenny also championed the contribution from each member of his squad and he felt Friday’s win was another example where everybody played their part.
“We had to work for the victory. We kept going and it was a great pass from Stephen O’Donnell and a great finish by Tiarnan. That is the third time he has come off the bench and scored a goal.
“At the other end, we have injuries to Mark Rossiter and Chris Shields, two of our three centre-backs, but Eoghan Osborne has come in and done well and Dane Massey has been outstanding at centre-back, a position he never played ever before up until this year.”
Speaking about the performance against Shels, Kenny said it would have been a travesty if Dundalk had not won the game and he felt that wrestling control of the midfield was key in shaping the outcome.
“We started off with a diamond but Stephen Hurley and Pat Flynn were picking up second balls and territorially we didn’t have a stranglehold on the game.
“I put Stephen O’Donnell back into the middle and he was very influential. I’m loathe to take Keith Ward out of that area as he’s very creative but we needed to get hold of the ball and there is no point in having him there if we don’t have it.”
O’Donnell was Dundalk’s best player on the night and Kenny feels that his midfielders are amongst the best in the country.
“Stephen and Richie Towell have been very good and are as good as anything there is in the league. We have to try and get the rest right now. Our attacking play can be better and we will work on that.”