Reds gear up for Dublin Derby

The Reds face a second successive Dublin Derby tomorrow night as they make the trip to Richmond Park to face St Patrick’s Athletic. (7:45pm KO – live on LOItv)

Damien Duff’s side start the night top of the table following a 2-0 win over Bohs at Dalymount Park last Friday night.

Duff has a near full strength squad to choose from. Shane Griffin is closing in on a return to action from a calf strain and continues his rehab.

Club captain Mark Coyle is relishing the clash with the Saints: 

“It’ll be a tough encounter, they’ll be right up for it, Pats had a good win against Dundalk. Every game they’ve played hasn’t been many goals. They looked dogged and organised definitely, over the games we’ve played against them since I’ve been here, set pieces have played a massive part. We need to be on it. Try to impose ourselves on them, bring what we have to the table.”

“We’ve had a decent start but it’s too early in the season to think we’ve done something. Pats are a very dangerous side. Lots of quality and if we’re any way off it we know we won’t get a result. We’ve had a good start yeah, but at 7:45pm tomorrow that won’t mean much”

Following Shels season opener in Waterford, which ended 1-1, the team have gone on to beat Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers, Galway United and Bohemian FC. Reflecting on the first five games the Donegal man said:

“It’s an extremely good start, 4 wins and a draw, can’t ask for much more. The most encouraging thing is I think everybody is feeling in our dressing room that we haven’t reached the heights we can reach. Which is the exciting part. Every week is going to be tough, everybody is beating everybody, the best thing is we keep churning out results. Feel like we haven’t played particularly well over the full course of the 90 minutes, so we’ve done ok, but we know there’s room to improve as well.”

A win would see Shels enter the international break as league leaders and Coyle believes tables don’t tell much at this early stage, the real motivation is maintaining momentum: 

“Momentum is the most important thing, we’ve tried to build that up. It’s something we want to keep doing, we want to keep that relentless streak. This week we had some proper good sessions, good tough day on Tuesday and we did another one today. Motivation is massive. We know this Friday if we get 3 points that’s 5 wins and 1 draw and it really would be a great start.” 

Coyle believes the manager and his staff will help keep players focused and doesn’t feel there’s any danger that the Reds’ good start could lead to some complacency creeping in:

“We’ll stay grounded, that comes from the manager and the staff, the gaffer has always got a great message, every story he tells us has a point to it, himself and Joey’s meetings always have a meaning that resonates with the players. It could be a movie clip or a quote or reference and it just hits you, I get it, what they mean. They always have one.

“The message is if you get too far ahead of yourself you get caught out. They are geniuses on the motivational side. They know what we have to do and so do we. We have to be at it and be relentless if we want to have a successful season.”

Over 1,150 Shels fans will cram into the terrace in Richmond Park as the away end sold out shortly after going on general sale. Coyle’s message to fans is simple, thank you, your support cannot be underrated:

“We were chatting about it, the numbers we couldn’t really believe it. It’s great for the club, we’re well aware too what it means to the fans and that’s who we represent, it means a lot to us and it’s pure pride to walk out there and see that away end packed, they give us that extra lift in the Dublin Derbies.

“No doubt in my mind at all about that. We have to go out and do the job and send them home happy, we’ve built a bit of momentum and we want to keep that going.” 

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