Dundalk v Derry City, Oriel Park, 7,45pm
City announced themselves to the wider public with a record victory against Bohemians in front of the TV cameras last week, but they face a familiar foe with the trip to Oriel Park tomorrow in the form of opposition manager, Stephen Kenny. However even the former boss must cast an envious glance at the League table to see the start his former assistant Devine has enjoyed this season.
Indeed City have enjoyed their best start to a season since the 2006 campaign, when Kenny was in charge at the Brandywell. Kenny enjoyed a difficult season last year with Shamrock Rovers and City’s comprehensive victories over his Rovers team in the Setanta Cup and League were part of a difficult start for Kenny during his time there. After a late appointment to the Dundalk job, Kenny has already masterminded more points away for home this season than in the whole of the 2012 campaign.
However Devine will have his eye on the fact that the Lilywhites have failed to win a home game so far this season, whilst his side has already collected all three points at the likes of Turners Cross and Dalymount. The City boss was in bullish mood when we spoke to him this week, ” I think when you are on a good run then you have to embrace every game that comes your way”
However, whilst Sligo may be setting the early basis, the rest of the league proves as unpredictable as ever, with the manager noting “there are no easy games in this league and we have to make sure that we are ready for a very difficult game.
Dundalk have got off to a very good start and I think they have very good players and obviously Stephen will be very determined that he wants to get a result against ourselves,”
City of course boast a number of ex Dundalk players in the side, with striker Michael Rafter the signing who has grabbed the early headlines. His record of four goals in three games has seen him rival Rory Patterson for number one marksman at Brandywell. Rafter was on target at Brandywell last year, as part of a Dundalk side which recorded one of their few wins on the road against Derry last season. The Candystripes have enjoyed a reasonable recent record against Dundalk with each side winning two games at Oriel since our return to the top flight, and a single draw which occurred last season.
Declan Devine was keen to point to the strength of his defence, who have conceded just two goals so far this season. However the media attention has mostly focused on the front line, with the free scoring Candystripes already notching up 18 goals for far this season. Rory Patterson returns to the City panel and Declan Devine has a pleasant headache in trying to accommodate both Rafter and Patterson. However Devine has fewer options in the middle of the park with Deery and Houston out for an extended period, joining Stewart Greacen on the treatment table.
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