herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Lilies up for it

DUNDALK'S players will cram yet another fixture into a busy season tonight when they face up to Shamrock Rovers in a replay of their FAI Ford Cup quarter-final meeting.

But Dundalk's Mark Rossiter, likely to return to the starting XI at Oriel Park tonight as Lilywhites boss Stephen Kenny loses Brian Gartland and Donal McDermott to suspension, promises there are no moans from within the camp as the side try to compete on three fronts.

Tonight's game at home to Rovers will be Dundalk's 44th competitive game of the season, with at least one more game (and possibly three) in the cups, and another five league games to go.

"It's a lot of games and a lot of demands on your time but there are no complaints from us," says Rossiter.

"Ask any player in the league and they'd like to be in our position. We're top of the league, we competed in Europe, we got to the final of the Setanta Cup and the EA Sports Cup and still have a chance of getting to the FAI Cup final.

"That's why you are in the game, to play in big matches and try to win things. It is very busy for us, and the players at the club who live in Dublin feel like we're living in Dundalk these days as we spend so much time up there.

"But it's a great feeling, to be going for all these trophies. We have a big week ahead of us now, Rovers at home tonight in the FAI Cup replay and Rovers here at Oriel Park again next Saturday in the EA Sports Cup final, but we are ready for it," added Rossiter.

While Friday's drawn game was a tight affair, few would have predicted the 0-0 outcome, as Dundalk have played out just one scoreless draw in their previous 42 outings this season.

"It was a close game, Richie Towell had a chance for us in the first half and Kurtis Byrne could have scored in the second half but Barry Murphy did well in goal for them," says Rossiter.

"In fairness to Rovers and they way they set out they played to their strengths.

"They got in our faces, they rattled us at times and they didn't let us play the game we normally play.

NOISY

"But they were at home in that one, we are the home side in this game so I think the onus is on us.

"Hopefully we can get a really good home crowd in, make the place as noisy and as hostile as possible," added the full back.

Rossiter has been forced to be patient at the club this season and, like team-mates Ruaidhri Higgins and David McMillan, be content with a bench role, with just three league starts for Roossiter. "It's frustrating but the back four have been so good season I can't complain too much," he says.

But with key defender Gartland out for the replay, Rossiter is likely to slot into the defence.

Rovers could also make changes as Sean O'Connor, suspended fort he drawn game, is available again to Pat Fenlon.

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