Dundalk V St Patrick's Athletic

  • Fri, Sep 23, 2011 @ 9:33

St Patrick's Athletic will be looking to maintain an excellent record at Oriel Park when they face Dundalk tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

The Saints have not been beaten at the venue since November 1998, and they will also have the advantage of taking on a Dundalk side which is crippled by injuries.

The hosts' last hope for silverware this season died on Tuesday night when they were beaten after extra-time by Bohemians in a FAI Ford Cup quarter-final replay at Dalymount Park.

They were already without long-term injury victims Eoghan Osborne (fractured tibia), Stephen Maher (fractured metatarsal) and Colin Hawkins (knee), and will now also be without the services of the suspended Dean Bennett.

Dundalk manager Ian Foster also has concerns over Mark Griffin (groin) and Ross Gaynor (ankle).

The County Louth side have little to play for other than a battle for sixth place with Bray Wanderers.

"We've got six games to go and I've got a proud bunch of players," Foster said.

"I've got a committed bunch of players. Friday night is going to be tough for us. It certainly is, because obviously we played 120 minutes on Tuesday - 45 minutes with ten men.

"We picked up a couple of injuries. Griffin has got a groin injury which will probably rule him out for the weekend. Bennett will be suspended.

"Even on Tuesday, we could only get six subs. Out of those six subs, Stephen McDonnell is not ready and we had a 16-year-old boy (Conor McDonald) on the bench, and that's where we're at, at the moment."

St Pat's are on a good run of form at the moment and are still on the fringes of the title race. They are just four points behind leaders Derry City with six games to go.

But, like their hosts, Pat's are also hampered by injuries. They have had seven players on the treatment table this week, but are hopeful that two or three of them will have recovered in time for tonight's game.

"Our preparations for tomorrow's game haven't been ideal," Mahon said.

"We have a number of players injured which has impacted our training sessions this week. We are hoping two or three will have recovered, but we need to consider the impact the artificial pitch will have on them before making any decisions.

"Having said that, this is good opportunity for those who haven't featured recently to stake a claim for a starting place in the team for the remaining matches of the season.

"This is a really important game for us, as they all are between now and the end of the season.

"We want to break into the top three and to qualify for Europe through the league."

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