Patrick Hoban will be hoping to put two things right when Dundalk travel to Ballybofey on Friday night to face Finn Harps.
Not only will the Lilywhites striker be looking to help his side bounce back from their first defeat of the season against Shamrock Rovers last weekend but he will also be aiming to score against the Donegal outfit for the first time in his career.
Ollie Horgan’s side are the only team that Hoban has faced in league action that he has yet to score against. This is despite 10 attempts – seven during his time at Mervue Utd and three with Dundalk.
Hoban wasn’t aware of the stat but hopes it no longer exists come Friday night as he looks to add to his current run of three goals in his last three outings.
“Well hopefully that changes on Friday,” he said when it was put to him.
“It’s a tricky venue to go to. We found out that last year.
“It’s never easy up there and I think they’ve improved massively this year as well so I think they’re a big threat in Ballybofey. It’s definitely going to be a tough game and we’re definitely going to have our wits about us when we travel there.”
The 28-year-old was bitterly disappointed to have lost after putting his side 2-1 up just after the hour mark in Tallaght Stadium on Friday. He pulled no punches in assessing the game afterwards, insisting that Dundalk’s game management had to improve.
“Except for the start of the first half, we controlled the game after we conceded and after it went to 1-1 we controlled the game for the rest of the first half.
“To be fair the conditions were tough in the first half for Rovers and we got the same in the second half. We didn’t start well at all but then we got a goal out of nowhere. We have to be better at game management.
“We didn’t manage the game well enough when we went 2-1 up and that’s what has cost us today to be honest.”
Hoban said the Rovers equaliser when Roberto Lopes headed in from Jack Byrne’s corner was the bitterest pill to swallow.
“Definitely, because we pride ourselves on not conceding from set plays and then when you concede from a set play it’s sloppy from us.
“It’s unforgiveable really to be honest. We need to manage the game when it is that tight. We were leading 2-1 and you just need to frustrate the opposition but I don’t think we did that enough. We basically didn’t play the game enough when we went 2-1 up.
“It’s a lesson even for Europe that when you’re leading away from home you learn how to slow the game down. It’s just all little things about game management like getting a good shape. I felt we got out of shape and they got between the lines too easily. We didn’t make it too difficult for them but there’s a long way to go in the season and we’ll hold our heads well high.”
Even though he has now scored three in three, Hoban didn’t see that as a bonus and said his side must perk up in the weeks ahead.
“Not really to be honest. We can take positives from parts of that game and our performance but there were too many negatives that we’ll definitely need to fix over the next couple of weeks but we will do that. We can’t be down too much. There’s still a long way to go in the season and we just need to keep plugging away,” he said.