“No Better Way To Bounce Back”: Burns
Dundalk defender Liam Burns says there is “no better way to bounce back” from last Monday’s shock defeat by Bray Wanderers than beating Drogheda United when the sides clash in the Louth Derby at United Park on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm). The 31-year-old centre-half gave the Lilywhites a third-minute lead against Bray but a spirited fightback by the table proppers saw them claim their first win of the season, in the process inflicting Dundalk’s first home loss of the campaign, thanks to an injury-time strike from Robbie Doyle. However, Burns insists his side, who remain second, must immediately put that result behind them and that they have the perfect opportunity to do so.
“There’s no better way to bounce back than with a derby game against Drogheda,” Burns told dundalkfc.com, with the defender hoping that they can show “bouncebackability” for the second time in a fortnight having won two on the trot following their only other defeat under Ian Foster at Sporting Fingal on 16 April. “We were very disappointed with the result against Bray. We had a great opportunity to win another game and keep our run going, but we conceded sloppy goals and we didn’t kick on after going 1-0 up. We didn’t have our usual energy and it’s a great opportunity lost, but now we’ve got to show what we’re capable of by bouncing back. It’s about what we do next. We’re always going to have periods like this and it’s how we react, and it’s great to have the Drogheda derby next.”
Dundalk are without a win at the south Louth venue since December 2000, although they have only had three competitive visits since then, with the two league meetings both ending in deadlock last term. “We know it’s going to be difficult,” Burns, who only played in the second of those trips, admitted. “But we’ve got to look after ourselves, go there and put on a performance and try to get a result to show that we can bounce back. There are no easy games in this league and the Bray game proved that. It’s a local derby, Drogheda are on a bit of a bad run at the moment so they’ll be looking for a result too and they probably think they owe us one from the last game (at Oriel Park on 14 March) when we came from 2-0 down. But we’ve got to go and show our mettle and show what we’re made of.” Drogheda enter the game on the back of four straight defeats in all competitions and without a win at home this season. On the other hand, Dundalk have taken ten from a possible 15 points on the road, their only defeat at Fingal when they conceded an own goal and a penalty.
Burns’ participation is still in doubt after he was forced to retire just over an hour into the Bray game with a slight hip flexor strain. JJ Melligan (calf & groin) also faces a race to be fit, the former Leyton Orient midfielder missing last Monday’s encounter after lasting just 26 minutes of last Friday’s win over Bohemians. Fellow midfielder Alan Cawley, who has been out of action since sustaining a triple-fractured cheekbone against Drogheda in mid March, returned to training on Monday but has another date with the surgeon next Friday to determine when he will be able to return to playing. Meanwhile, striker Tiarnán Mulvenna made his first appearance in over six months when coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute for Johnny Breen against Bray, the 21-year-old denied what would have likely been the winning goal on his return when he was wrongly adjudged to be offside by linesman Mark Douglas.