Duff: “Three points tomorrow night would be massive”

Shelbourne FC welcome Dundalk to Tolka Park as the race for Europe enters the final stretch in the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division (7:45pm KO)

Damien Duff’s side return home aiming to bounce back after a loss in their last outing, a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Shamrock Rovers.

Ahead of the visit of the Louth side Duff delivered an injury update to ShelbourneFC.ie:

“We’re light on bodies, Sean Boyd, Matty Smith and JR Wilson remain unavailable, we won’t fill the bench, Andy Quinn and David Toure have knocks, slight issues but won’t play. 

“We’ll do what we always do, we go with what we have, we won’t complain and get on with it. Is it a worry with all the players missing? No, because lads have done really well and have always been able to handle what comes their way, our supporters as well have been honestly amazing. They are the 12th, 13th, 14th man, and might even be the 19th and 20th tomorrow night. It’s a big game, the lads can’t wait and are ready for it.

Dundalk will come into this game with renewed confidence, they snapped a four game losing streak by hammering Cork City 5-0 and then winning the Louth derby against Drogheda United last Friday.

Duff has full respect for the opposition and knows they are a quality outfit: “We know they’re a really good team regardless of run of form or where they have been recently, they have real winners in the team, a great young manager. Certainly not an easy game but one all our guys are looking forward to, and all this week there was a real excitement in the air.”

“We had a setback on Friday, we’ve said many times this season our lads are good at brushing off results, we went through the video on Monday of the Rovers game, our first half went well, second half it wasn’t us, we didn’t look after the ball as well as we could, looking back and taking stuff from the Rovers game, it was us looking at ourselves.

“What we learned from that is we need to bring 100 minutes tomorrow, we need to bring 400 minutes between now and the end of the season, we can’t let energy, concentration and emotional energy drop. It can cost you in this league. It’s a time to be on it, it’s a time to stand up, I am certain we will do it.” 

“If we don’t have our edge, we’re not us, we’re not Shelbourne FC, we have to bring the fire, we have to be calm, clear and have ice in the veins, but that is nothing without fire and edge. I want lads to know it’s big and be up for it and we need to match what Dundalk bring, and to win it we need to bring more.”

It’s a massive game in the race for Europe and Duff is confident his young squad will be able to cope with the pressure of the occasion:

“I think they’ve got better with coping with occasions, there’s no hiding, you can say it’s just another game, play the game in front of you, all the cliches but at the end of the day, it’s as big as they come.

“Four games left, win it and we go fourth, and there’s a real mentality shift with everyone, Dundalk, Bohs, us, it shifts the thinking for everyone. Three points tomorrow night would be massive.”

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