Drogheda United will be aiming to put an end to a six-match losing run when they host Shamrock Rovers at United Park on Friday, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Drogs exited the EA Sports Cup on Tuesday as they lost 1-0 at home to Bray Wanderers courtesy of Ryan Brennan’s first-half penalty.
Drogheda boss Pete Mahon made 11 changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Dundalk four days earlier and he couldn’t hide his frustration after another defeat.
“Winning is a habit but so is losing,” Mahon explained Wednesday evening. “I thought it was a decent performance from the lads the other night but i think the lack of playing time for the team was clear in how we struggled for a cutting edge.
“Without a reserve league in the country it means that we have to throw players into games like tonight in the hope that they can get some match sharpness and hit the ground running but it just doesn’t work like that.
“We have a lot of young players in our group that are too old for underage football but are still learning the game. How are we meant to develop them if we can’t get them the experience of competitive football on a consistent basis?”
Early elimination from the EA Sports Cup continues a disappointing trend for the Boynesiders over recent years, something which Mahon is eager to rectify.
“Our Cup record as of late is absolutely horrendous. I think we’ve been knocked out of the First Round of nearly every single tournament over the last three years.
“There’s absolutely no silver lining to being out of the Cup. We wanted to advance as far as we could and I hate to lose games. It’s becoming a too familiar feeling for us.”
It’s been 12 years since Drogheda last defeated Shamrock Rovers at home in the league but the Dubliner is adamant that all runs must come to an end at some stage.
“We know that this run of defeats has to come to an end soon. It’s going to be the most competitive season imaginable down at the bottom with three being relegated and we can’t afford to get cast adrift.
“It’s vital that we start making United Park work in our favour. Once we get that right I believe everything else will start falling into place.
“We’ve dusted ourselves off from the Dundalk game last week and we’ll be ready for Friday. Motivation won’t be an issue for us. Rovers have a lot of talent in theIr squad but we need to outwork them and give everything we have.”
Drogheda will be without the injured trio of Killian Brennan, Sean Brennan and Marc Griffin for the visit of the Hoops while Ciaran McGuigan is suspended. Goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness is also doubtful.