Dundalk boss Vinny Perth has backed his side to bounce back from their first defeat of the season against Shamrock Rovers when they travel to Finn Park to take on Finn Harps on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Lilywhites manager is hopeful of having Patrick McEleney back in action while Darragh Leahy, Georgie Kelly and Stefan Colovic will all be available having featured in a behind closed doors game against Shelbourne on Saturday. Kelly also featured for the first time this season as a late substitute in Tallaght on Friday night.
Looking ahead to the trip to Ballybofey, Perth said: “It’s going to be a difficult venue.
“I know the storm is due to hit this weekend so it’s going to be difficult going up there but we’ll have to bounce back but we’ve always been good at that so we’ll be ready for it.”
On player availability, Perth said: “Patrick (McEleney) is touch and go. He may or may not get back for next week but Georgie will be close and Stefan is ready to go so it’s a lot better position than we were. Sean (Murray) will be another week or two.”
The 43-year-old also said that new Serbian recruit Colovic would be ready to go after he finally arrived in Ireland on Wednesday night before training with his new team-mates the next day and featuring on the bench against Rovers.
Perth revealed he had toyed with the idea of introducing him at the weekend.
“He was there if we needed but I just thought that Daniel Kelly’s pace and then when we brought Will (Patching) on he could have went into that position as well but it was just a bit frantic at that stage. He trained with us yesterday. He doesn’t know the players’ names yet so that will take him a bit of time but he’s ready to go.”
Pressed on where Colovic would fit in, Perth said: “He’s a left footer who can play on the right, in the 10 or on the left wing. He can play in them three positions.
“It might not look it at the moment because we’re without John Mountney, Georgie Kelly has only trained once, Stefan has trained once and Sean Murray and Patrick McEleney are missing so we’re struggling in the forward areas but at the same time we’re doing okay. That’s an area we felt we had to strengthen on last year. I’m comfortable enough that we’ve got our recruitment right and that it will pay off over the course of the season.”
Reacting to Friday’s 3-2 defeat to Shamrock Rovers, Perth said it was disappointing that Dundalk had thrown away a 2-1 lead with 27 minutes to go.
“When we went 2-1 up, it’s very unlikely us to go and lose the game. Whatever about anything else, it’s uncharacteristic of us to concede from a corner.
“Ultimately these games are decided by fine margins and to be fair the winning goal from Jack Byrne was a bit of quality. Some times you’ve just got to hold your hands up and take it on the chin.”
Perth also revealed that Dundalk had worked on the scenario which led to Jordan Flores’ much discussed wonder goal on 22 minutes.
“He is a beautiful strike of the ball,” he said of the 24-year-old.
“I thought Pat’s goal as well was a brilliant finish. Jordan’s goal was something we worked on and it paid off for us.
“I was disappointed because we didn’t start the game that well but in the second half of the first half we were very dominant and we should have went in with the lead and I was disappointed that we didn’t. We just need to improve in the forward areas but before tonight we’ve had five forward players missing so I think that’s an area that we really can improve and get better from.
“Some of our combination play in the forward area could be better and that’s something that we’re going to have to improve upon.”
Perth also said he didn’t know if Rovers would pose a greater threat to his side for the league title than last season.
“I don’t know. I’m not obsessed by them. Leagues are decided over a lot of games and big moments.
“Tonight has just gone against us. I don’t think there was a lot between the two teams. I don’t know. They’ve pushed us over the last couple of years and obviously we don’t have Cork but you don’t know (what could happen).
“In 2013 no one would have guessed we’d be second from where we came from so there may be a springer in the pack as well that adds to it. I think there’s a standard in the league now that is a lot better than in the last couple of years despite what other people might say so there might be more points dropped this year than in a long time.”
He did admit that Friday’s game, despite the result, was a fantastic advert for the league however.
“Full credit to first of all Shamrock Rovers. This Tallaght Stadium is a credit to Rovers and the County Council. It’s a brilliant venue and it just shows you we can have venues like that with big crowds. I hope it came across well on TV and we did the League of Ireland justice tonight hopefully.
“Yes, we’re disappointed we didn’t come out the right side of it but I think it was a good advert for the league and ultimately I think that’s what is most important.”