Stephen O’Donnell has backed his players to rise to the occasion when they take on Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds on Saturday night.
After seeing their home fixture with Bohemians postponed on the opening weekend of the season, Saturday’s game will be the Bit o’Red’s first on their own patch this year but O’Donnell said the Lilywhites were looking forward to the prospect of playing in front of a full house.
“It’s Sligo’s first home match of the season so, just like there was against Bohemians last week, there’ll be a big appetite locally to go and see them. There’ll be a big crowd but it’ll also be a good atmosphere for us to play in.
“Obviously we’d rather be playing at Oriel Park every week because we have the supporters behind us but we don’t mind playing away from home. We’ve always had a good away record at this club and our approach doesn’t really change that much, whether we’re at home or away.”
Like Dundalk, Liam Buckley’s men have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season, beating St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park before following it up with a scoreless draw against Derry City at the Brandywell on Monday night.
“They’ve made a good start alright,” said O’Donnell. “They’ve had two tough away games and I’d say they were happy to come away unbeaten with four points.
“They lost players over the winter but they’ve managed to keep the spine of their team which most clubs haven’t been able to do. They’ve also added a couple and they have a settled look to them so it’ll be a tough game.”
Dundalk make the trip west on the back of a 3-0 win over Finn Harps at Oriel Park on Monday night, a result – if not a performance – that pleased the former Lilywhites skipper.
“There are times where we’ll play very well and won’t get three points so, ultimately, the result is the most important thing,” said O’Donnell. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing when you win a game and know there’s still loads to work on.
“When you want to be successful, there are going to be games like Monday night where you don’t play particularly well. We had plenty of them through the years when I was here as a player.
“You just have to try and find a way to win the game and then you can right the wrongs after it. It’s much easier to do that when you’re feeling a lot better about yourself after getting three points and I’d happily take the same on Saturday night.”
Mayowa Animasahun is back in the squad after recovering from an injury he picked up in pre-season while Darragh Leahy is also closing in on a return. John Mountney remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Tickets for the game are now on general sale at this link. Fans are advised that tickets must be purchased in advance of the game and will not be available on the night.