Dundalk will be without Raivis Jurkovskis for Thursday night’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division derby with Drogheda United at Head In The Game Park due to a family bereavement.

Raivis returned to Latvia on Wednesday following the sudden passing of his father and, speaking to dundalkfc.com, Lilywhites head coach Vinny Perth offered his condolences to the 24-year-old and his family.

“We are deeply upset for Raivis and his family in Latvia,” said Perth. “He is a quiet man but he is a really important part of the dressing room and an important part of our team.

“Other people could maybe drive home to their parents but we had to put him on the first available flight to Latvia to get him home to his family as quick as we could and our thoughts are with them all at this very difficult time.”

Jurkovskis has made 28 league appearances for the club this season after arriving from Liepaja last winter and Perth believes the Latvian, along with Dundalk’s other international recruits, should be given credit for the way they have had to acclimatise to their new surroundings in difficult circumstances.

“A lot of our players have come in for a huge amount of criticism this year but it has been so difficult for the likes of Raivis and others to settle in a foreign country in the middle of COVID,” said Perth. “Their families couldn’t mix with families of other players and that has been very difficult.

“For Raivis, to lose his father is a huge personal blow and it just shows you that behind a player there’s a real human being who has a real life to live.”