He kept his first clean sheet of the season in the 3-0 win over Finn Harps but speaking ahead of the trip to Sligo Rovers on Saturday evening, Nathan Shepperd believes there is lots of room for improvement from Dundalk.

A brace from SSE Airtricity SWAI Player of the Month nominee Steven Bradley, either side of Sam Bone’s first goal for the club, banked Dundalk their first victory of the campaign but speaking to the Dundalk FC Patreon, Shepperd said the performance could have been better.

“The quality and standards need to be higher,” said the Welsh U21 goalkeeper. “We know the quality we have in the squad and what we do every day and although we won the game on Monday night, we can’t accept sloppy performances.

“The boys played some decent stuff in parts and we showed great quality to pick them apart for the goals. We were efficient and we kept a clean sheet as well which I’m happy about but we really need to push on now, show our quality and dominate games.”

Lewis Macari in action against Ethan Boyle of Finn Harps during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match at Oriel Park. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Shepperd had words of praise for two of his teammates, in particular, his housemate Bradley, who has now scored four goals in his opening three games for the club, and Lewis Macari, who came from nowhere to make an incredible goal-line clearance and deny Filip Mihaljevic what looked a certain opener against Ollie Horgan’s side.

“Steven looks a real threat and hopefully he can keep producing,” said Shepperd. “His attitude is great and his quality is showing. He’s loving it at the minute.

Reflecting on Macarai’s intervention, he said: “It was sloppy from us. We gave them a few chances in the first half which wasn’t good enough but Lewis and the rest of the defenders threw their bodies on the line and we got the job done in the end.”

Next up for the Lilywhites is a trip west to face a Sligo Rovers side who have picked up four points from their opening two games and Shepperd is looking forward to sampling another new venue.

“I’ve heard it’s a long trip,” smiled Shepperd, “so hopefully we can make it worthwhile.”