Derry battle injuries at back as Dundalk look to capitalise
Stephen Kenny’s side determined to take another successful step towards double defence
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is likely to make changes to his side following the win over Maccabi in the Europa League. Photograph: PA.
FAI CUP Semi-final
Oriel Park, Sunday, 1.45pm
Rory Patterson could well start in central defence according to erry City manager Kenny Shields whose injury problems at the back have mounted since the 3-1 league defeat a couple of weeks ago in which he gambled and lost on the fitness of a couple of key players.
Team captain Ryan McBride misses out again while Max Karner is ruled out this time by a hefty bout of the flu.
“We have very few options left at the back,” says Shields, “and we’re lacking players who are big enough to handle that position. Dundalk are a terrific team but they do go long to the striker sometimes and Rory can handle that so if Dean doesn’t make then that’s the way we might go.
“It’s not ideal but everything’s not doom and gloom,” he says. “We’ve got good players in our team and we want to go there and give it a blast. When they came up here and won so comfortably we were disconsolate, to be honest, but we’ve come a long way since then and while they were comfortable towards the end of the most recent league game, we feel we can get closer to them if we perform and that’s the minimum we’d be hoping for this time.”
Shiels says he is hoping the hosts might be suffering a bit of a Europa League hangover but not holding his breath: “They’ve stepped up to the plate on every occasion so far so there’s no reason why they won’t do it again this time but I’ll still be hoping alright.”
Dundalk’s Andy Boyle certainly sounds as if it will be buinsess as usual. “We’ve done nothing yet,” he insists. “We’ve got a few points in the Europa League but we want to be in the FAI Cup final, we want to win the league. We want a slice of everything that’s going.
“Derry are a good side,” he says, “and we’ll give them the respect they deserve. But listen, the Aviva is where you want to play.”
Stephen Kenny is coy about how many changes he might make for the game but the Dubliner is bound to take the opportunity to rotate his squad with Stephen O’Donnell, who was suspended on Thursday night, goalscorer Ciaran Kilduff and defender Paddy Barrett amongst the more likely players to feature from the outset.
“As a manager, you have to manage. Manage the team and the resources to the best of your ability,” says Kenny when pressed on the scale of the changes he might make. The manager absolutely insists, though, that progressing is a priority, even it it requires a replay to do so, despite the mounting backlog of fixtures.
Route to the semis: Dundalk: Shelbourne 2-0 at home, Crumlin United 5-0 at home and UCD 1-0 away. Derry City: Beat Drogheda United 2-1 away in a replay, Bohemians 2-0 away and Wexford Youths 3-1 away.
Meetings this season: Dundalk 1, Derry City 1; Derry City 0, Dundalk 5; Dundalk 3, Derry City 1.
Betting: Home: 1/2, Draw: 3/1, Away: 9/2.