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Kenny: Motivation Is High On Saturday

Match Preview
// 17 Mar 2017

Manager Stephen Kenny feels that beating St. Patrick’s Athletic would be an ‘excellent start’ for the Lilywhites. Speaking to dundalkfc.com ahead of Saturday’s game the boss believes that with the players missing from the start of the season 12 from 15 would be great.

“A win against St. Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday evening would represent an excellent start from ourselves. It would be great if we could get that win and that is the motivation.

“For the first time in four years we probably have had an injury crisis! Gary Rogers, Chris Shields, Dave McMillan, Stephen O’Donnell and Dane Massey all missing for the start of the season.

“So if we could get 12 points out of 15 from the first five games with all of those players missing for a large part of it would mean a great start for us.

The motivation is high for the game against St. Pat’s.”

‘Standards Haven’t Dropped’

The champions were defeated for the first time this season against Derry City on Monday night in Buncrana and Kenny doesn’t think his side deserved to lose the game but admitted that the goals given away were ‘disappointing’.

“I have looked at the video again of our game against Derry City from Monday night and it’s a game we didn’t deserve to lose. We didn’t really concede a chance overall.

“Obviously the goals we gave away were disappointing on the night. I felt we were the marginally better team over the course of the 90 minutes in what was a tight game.”

Kenny has called on the passionate home support to come out in force once again after the first two home matches attracting a combined total of close to 8,500 and he wants them to come out in force once again and once again reiterated the hunger for success and to win in the squad.

“We have a 100% record at home. Our home form has been good and the crowds have been fantastic. 5,000 for Shamrock Rovers and 3,500 for Limerick.

“We need that passionate home support on Saturday night against St. Patrick’s.

“We are hungry for success. Our standards haven’t dropped at the club. The players coming back Wednesday night Chris Shields and Dave McMillan played 90 minutes in a work out against Institute behind closed doors.

“Gary Rogers also played 90 minutes and Jamie McGrath. Sean Hoare played an hour as he came back from injury. He has been missing also. That was useful for us. It increases our options for the weekend.

“It was Shields and McMillan’s first 90 minutes this year. They are such important players for us.”

Pay Tribute

The manager had a special word of praise for goalkeeper Gabriel Sava and paid tribute to his services at the club saying he is an important part of the setup at Oriel Park and spoke of his impressive record in the top two domestic competitions.

“One thing we must do is pay tribute to the loyalty of Gabby Sava. He is now in his fourth year of the club. He hasn’t always been first choice but has always been there as a support. He has come in and played in some huge games.

“We will never forget him coming into the big game against Cork City in the league last year and being very commanding. Big European games against Hajduk Split and Zenit St. Petersburg.

“Ok a couple of goals went in on Monday night but he has always been an important part of Dundalk Football Club. In league and FAI Cup matches since he signed for the club in 2014 he has had 15 wins, 3 draws and Monday was the first defeat that he has encountered.

“People will be quick to criticise but he has been very loyal to the club. He could easily have moved but he wanted to stay with the most successful team in Ireland to prove himself and he has done well overall.”

Hit The Ground Running

The boss wants his players to respond in the right manner and to return to ‘winning ways’ at Oriel on Saturday night.

“We are hungry to do well this week. We want to hit the ground running on Saturday night against Pat’s and put in a good performance at home at Oriel Park.

“We want to respond in the right way to Monday’s defeat and get back to winning ways in front of our home support. “

Team news

As Stephen confirmed Gary Rogers, David McMillan, Chris Shields and Sean Hoare all played in a behind closed doors friendly against Institute on Wednesday night and are available for selection against Pat’s. Dane Massey returned to the starting XI after a calf injury last Friday. Stephen O’Donnell remains sidelined due to a thigh injury and Shane Grimes is a long term absentee with a hamstring problem.

Last 10 meetings (All competitions)

25.10.2016 (LGE) St. Patrick’s Athletic 5-2 Dundalk (Fagan 20, Byrne 26, 36, Bermingham 40, Lunney 86; Shiels 48, M. O’Connor 63)

18.04.2016 (EAC) Dundalk 0-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic (Feely 114)

24.06.2016 (LGE)Dundalk 2-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic (Kilduff 73, Finn 80)

24.03.2016 (LGE) St. Patrick’s Athletic 0-4 Dundalk (O’Donnell 8, McMillan 64, Horgan 71, Gartland 90)

22.03.2015 (LSC) St. Patrick’s Athletic 0-1 Dundalk (O’Donnell 51)

17.08.2015 (LGE) Dundalk 4-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic (Gartland 6, McMillan 12, 32, Horgan 41; Chambers 38)

22.05.2015 (LGE) St. Patrick’s Athletic 0-2 Dundalk (Horgan 29, 61)

20.03.2015 (LGE) Dundalk 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic (Gartland 16, McMillan 67, 85)

28.02.2015 (PC) Dundalk 2-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic (Horgan 36, Towell 37; Forrester 35)

05.09.2014 (LGE) St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-0 Dundalk (Fagan 5)