After helping Dundalk book their place in the hat for Tuesday’s Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup quarter-final draw, Sam Durrant is hoping the Lilywhites can force their way into the title picture when they travel to Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
The 21-year-old, who joined the club from Sheffield Wednesday just under three weeks ago, caught the eye after coming on as a first-half substitute for the injured Ryan O’Kane in Friday’s FAI Cup second-round tie against Bray Wanderers at The Carlisle Grounds.
The win leaves Stephen O’Donnell’s men just two away from a return to the Aviva Stadium and Dundalk will find out their FAI Cup quarter-final opponents on Tuesday when the draw for the last eight is made at 12.30pm.
The Lilywhites return to SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division action on Friday night when they take on Shamrock Rovers in front of the RTE cameras in South County Dublin, and Durrant knows that win would move them five points behind the league leaders with eight games to play.
“It’s a massive game in Tallaght on Friday and one we’re really looking forward to,” said Durrant. “It’s a chance for us to push closer to them and put a bit of pressure on them and we’ve got the quality in the squad to win it.”
Reflecting on the hard-fought win in Bray, a game that saw Durrant play 54 minutes, his most thus far as a professional, the English native said he was happy with his display.
“I was really happy to get on so early,” he said. “I want to just kind of get going now and hopefully build on this, get a bit of momentum and hopefully get a bit more game time.
“It was a tough game because they sat behind the ball in the conditions, but I thought we played well, we played the game in the right way and we deserved it in the end.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played in conditions like that,” he added. “The pitch started holding up a bit and it was hard to play football.
“We just had to be patient. I think we created enough chances and probably should have scored more but, in the end, we got what we deserved.”