Stephen O’Donnell believes that Friday night’s televised showdown with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium is the best possible place for Dundalk to get back to winning ways.

The Lilywhites make the trip to South County Dublin on the back of a disappointing 2-1 loss to 10-man St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park last Friday night.

That result saw Pat’s go clear of Dundalk in fourth place but O’Donnell knows that a victory over the reigning champions, which would represent Dundalk’s first league win at the venue since 2019, would be the perfect way to kickstart a busy period of three games in seven days.

“Tallaght is a great venue, it’s a lovely pitch, and it’s a great arena,” he said. “The game is live on television and the boys have trained really well and we can’t wait to go up the road and put on a good performance.

“After a loss, you want to get back on the horse as quickly as possible and put things right. We were very disappointed that we didn’t really ram home the advantage against Pat’s last week but the only way you get that out of your system is to get back on the field and go and try and right a few things.

“It’s a massive week coming up with games against Rovers, UCD and Cork City. There are nine points to play for and if we get a good total off the back of those three games, we’ll be right in the mix.”

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Rovers head into the encounter, which will be broadcast live on RTE2, looking to get back on track themselves. After losing at home to Drogheda United a fortnight ago, Stephen Bradley’s side had three men sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Cork City at Turner’s Cross last Friday night.

“I think there are different narratives going around the league but the fact of the matter is that everyone’s been very similar to each other and you can see that with the table,” said O’Donnell.

“We’ve lost two of our last nine and everyone’s had peaks and troughs. That’s why it’s so condensed. A few wins and you’re back in the mix; we’re well aware of that.

“We’re not getting too despondent with the losses or too carried away when we win. It’s a marathon, not a sprinter’s league and we’re in touch with where we want to be and a good week would put us right back in there.”

After seeing Darragh Leahy, Louie Annesley, Greg Sloggett and Rayhaan Tulloch return last week, Dundalk have been handed another boost ahead of Friday night’s game with the news that Andy Boyle is fit and part of the squad.

“It’s the healthiest we’ve looked,” said O’Donnell. “Obviously, the players coming back need time to get up to speed but from a training and numbers point of view, it’s the best we’ve been by a mile all season, which is great.”

Team News: Andy Boyle is back in the squad after recovering from the calf injury he picked up ahead of the game with Derry City in April. Robbie Benson, John Mountney and Anthony Moyo are injured.