Longford Town travel to United Park on Friday evening to face Drogheda United as both sides go in search of a return to winning ways.
These two sides haven’t played each other in the league since 2007, the year Drogheda won the league and Longford were relegated to the First Division. Since then, the sides met in both the FAI and EA Sports Cup in 2013, with Drogheda winning both games while Longford came out as victors in their latest competitive meeting, winning on penalties in the Leinster Senior Cup back in February.
Drogheda have lost 4 of their last 5 games but a hard-fought draw away to St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday evening will have given Johnny McDonnell’s side a huge boost in confidence heading into the game against Longford.
McDonnell will again be without defender Neil Yadolahi as he recovers from a thigh injury which has kept him out for several weeks. Yadolahi looks set to be on the sidelines for a few weeks to come and travelled to England during the week for further treatment.
On a more positive note for the Boynesiders, second choice goalkeeper Dylan Connolly is back available after overcoming a shoulder injury. Sean Brennan and Stephen Maher, who was pulled out of the Drogheda squad just before kick off on Monday due to illness, are also available for selection for McDonnell.
Speaking to www.droghedaunited.ie, McDonnell admitted that he is expecting difficult and scrappy game,
“Longford will be a difficult game as they are a well-organised side that like to play with a direct style which works for them as they have two goalscorers up front in Gary Shaw and David O’Sullivan. It’s going to be a scrappy game and we must match their work rate if we are to get the victory that we want.”
Longford are currently 7th in the league, just a point ahead of Drogheda. Tony Cousins side come into this game searching for their first win in 5, with their last win coming against Galway at the end of March, courtesy of a 93rd minute Don Cowan goal.
Longford have not released any team news but it looks like they will again be without Cowan, who is still recovering from an injury picked up against St. Patrick’s Athletic three weeks ago. Goalkeeper Paul Hunt is also believed to still be sidelined through injury.
Injured: Neil Yadolahi (thigh).
Injured: Don Cowan, Paul Hunt.
Last Two Meetings:
Leinster Senior Cup, 23rd February 2015: Drogheda United 2-2 Longford Town (Longford win 5-4 on penalties).
FAI Cup, 24th August 2013: Longford Town 2-3 Drogheda United.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Assistants: Mark Gavin & Trevor Cotter
Fourth Official: Simon Rogers
Pundit Arena Prediction:
Drogheda United 2-1 Longford Town.
Drogheda United 7/4; Draw 21/10; Longford Town 9/5.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.