Longford Town host Johnny McDonnell’s Drogheda United at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday evening as both sides look to bounce back from consecutive league defeats.
Longford Town come into this game off the back of four defeats and one victory, which came at home to Bohemians, in their last five league games. It was Ayman Ben Mohamed who scored the late winner in that game and if the last meeting between these sides, a 3-0 victory for Longford at United Park, is anything to go by, the Boynesiders’ will have to prevent him from putting in a similar man of the match performance should he play.
Anything other than a defeat will see the home side move above Bray and back into 6th place in the league and if their form this season is considered anything to go by, they should do just that. Longford have not lost three league games in a row so far this season, something boss Tony Cousins will be hoping continues following 4-1 and 3-2 defeats at the hands of Cork City and Sligo Rovers respectively.
In team news, Longford welcome back Stephen Rice from a one game suspension, following an accumulation of five yellow cards this season. Pat Sullivan also looks set to be available again following injury which forced him to miss the defeat to Cork. However, both Don Cowan and Pat Flynn will again be unavailable through injury and are likely to be for a further few weeks.
As for the visitors, Drogheda had been on a 4 game unbeaten run, which included three wins, until they recorded consecutive home defeats at the hands of Dundalk and St. Pat’s in their last two league games.
The Boynesiders’ should have been in front at the break against Pats but failed to convert two glorious chances after Killian Brennan missed a penalty for the Saints’. Drogheda were then left to rue those missed chances as Pats’ ran out 2-0 victors.
Speaking to the official club website, boss Johnny McDonnell said he has called on his players to beat the teams around them in the league in the coming weeks which is no surprise considering that six of Drogheda’s next seven games will be against teams outside the top five.
“I think every result in this league is important because you can never be too sure of where your next win is going to come from. While we have played well against the top teams in the league, we haven’t picked up many positive results in those games. Given how close it is between the bottom half and the foot of the table, we need to stay in touch and the best way to do that is to get results against the teams around us.”
Speaking to www.droghedaunited.ie ahead of the game, McDonnell said he believes that his side are a different proposition now compared to the April, when they lost 3-0 to Longford, a performance which he has called their worst of the season and will be hoping his players use that result as motivation to get a result.
“I think we are a different proposition now compared to then. That was our worst performance of the season and the players won’t have forgotten that and I’m sure they will be looking to set the record straight. I watched Longford play Cork last week and Cork blew them away on the night. Those type of results happen from time to time but it will be a different game on Saturday between two evenly matched sides.”
Top goalscorer Lee Duffy, who was visibly a loss against St. Pat’s is back available for selection following a return from suspension. Shane Dunne’s lengthy suspension also ended following the game against Liam Buckley’s men last week. However, the midfielder has now joined his former club Wexford Youths, in what is believed to be a loan move for the remainder of the season. James Daly (broken leg), Dylan Connolly (broken wrist), Fionn Reilly (hip) and Lloyd Buckley (groin) are all again unavailable while Adam Whelan (tonsillitis) is also unlikely to feature.
Pundit Arena Prediction
Longford Town 1-1 Drogheda United
Injured: Don Cowan, Pat Flynn.
Injured: James Daly (broken leg), Dylan Connolly (broken wrist), Fionn Reilly (hip), Lloyd Buckley (groin).
Doubtful: Adam Whelan (tonsillitis).
Last Two Meetings
League, 24th April 2015: Drogheda United 0-3 Longford Town.
Leinster Senior Cup, 23rd February 2015: Drogheda United 2-2 Longford Town (Longford won 5-4 on penalties).
Longford Town 10/11; Draw 12/5; Drogheda United 3/1.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.