Ahead of a week that will see Dundalk take on the three S’s, head coach Stephen O’Donnell has called on his side to start turning some D’s into W’s and climb the league table.
The Lilywhites begin the second series of league matches with a home clash against Sligo Rovers on Good Friday. That is followed by a trip to Shamrock Rovers on Easter Monday before a busy period ends with the visit of Shelbourne next Friday.
O’Donnell’s men go into this Friday’s game sitting just one point behind the Bit o’Red, who occupy fourth place, and the 36-year-old said the prospect of breaking into the European positions was a huge incentive for his players.
“Yeah, it’s a busy week with three difficult games but we can’t wait for them,” he told dundalkfc.com. “We have the three S’s, Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne all in the space of seven days.
“They’re games that we’re really looking forward to. The work rate and energy have been good from our boys so it’s all about trying to have more quality and being better when we’re in possession.
“Over the past couple of seasons, Dundalk gave been off the top echelons of the table but we have high standards here and we have players with real ability. They just need to believe that but that will come with time and confidence.
“The quality and attitude they have shown in training every week is very good so we are just trying to get that correlation between training and matches.”
Dundalk and Sligo played out a scoreless draw at The Showgrounds in March. The last meeting between the sides at Oriel Park came in September 2021 when Sean Murray and Patrick Hoban helped themselves to a brace apiece as Dundalk ran out 4-1 winners.
That victory put an end to the Bit o’Red’s fine run at Oriel which saw them win four and draw one of the previous five games and they make the trip east on the back of a mini-slump which has seen them pick up just two points from their last four games.
“Sligo started the season very well but they found their last three games – three home games – very tough,” said O’Donnell. “Despite that, they’re a very good side, they’re solid and they have a good attacking threat.
“In their last away game, they were 2-0 up against Shamrock Rovers and they also scored three against Drogheda and two against St Patrick’s Athletic on their travels earlier on in the season.
“For us, it’s the first of three Friday night home games on the bounce,” he added. “Our form has been good at Oriel Park this season. We’ve beaten UCD and Finn Harps and drawn with Derry City and Shamrock Rovers so we’re looking forward to having the crowd behind us again.”
2002 FAI Cup winners reunion
The 2002 FAI Cup-winning squad will hold a reunion at Friday’s game with Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.
All pints and bottles will be priced at €4 in the Lilywhite Lounge and Enda McGuill Suite before the game and there will be a Q&A with the squad in the Enda McGuill Suite afterwards.