Dundalk travel to Richmond Park to face St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night bolstered by the return of some key players to the squad.
Darragh Leahy, Rayhaan Tulloch and Greg Sloggett all resumed training this week while Andy Boyle and Louie Annesley are also closing in on a return to full fitness.
“It’s great to have so many bodies back,” said Dundalk FC head coach Stephen O’Donnell. “It’s the first time all season really that we have looked so full numbers-wise.
“The players that were out for a period of time are coming back with real enthusiasm and are delighted to be back out on the pitch and that rubs off on everyone.
“We’ve had some really good sessions this week and we’re looking forward to the game on Friday. We’re looking a lot more fuller and we’ll have a lot more options.”
Despite producing one of their best displays of the season in the first half against Bohemians last Friday, the Lilywhites had to settle for a point after late goals by Krystian Nowak and Ali Coote secured the visitors a 2-2 draw.
That result, coupled with St Patrick’s Athletic’s Dublin Derby win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park, saw Pat’s move level on 26 points with Dundalk but they sit in fourth place, one above the Lilywhites, by virtue of goals scored.
The Inchicore club, who handed Jon Daly the manager’s job on a permanent basis this week after an impressive stint as caretaker manager, have won three and lost one of their previous four games but found themselves on the receiving end of a 5-0 drubbing in the corresponding game at Oriel Park earlier in the season.
The sides could not be separated in the two league games that were played in Dublin 8 last year while Dundalk’s last win at Richmond Park came back in May 2021 when a brace from David McMillan was enough to down a Pat’s team who were managed by O’Donnell at the time.
“Richmond is always a tough place to go,” said the Lilywhites boss. “They have won three of their last four games and any team that possesses good quality and good offensive players are going to be a threat and Pat’s are one of those teams.
“We’re looking forward to it. We always have good support at Richmond Park and the fans have been brilliant.
From a development point of view and from where we are project-wise, there will be bumps along the way but there have been enough moments to suggest that as we go on we’ll go from strength to strength. I’m really excited about where we are going.”
Team News: Darragh Leahy, Greg Sloggett and Rayhaan Tulloch are back in contention while Andy Boyle and Louie Annesley are making good progress with their recoveries. Robbie Benson, John Mountney and Anthony Moyo are injured.