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Drogheda United’s two-goal hero Brennan a doubt for Derry City clash

DROGHEDA United boss Kevin Doherty is sweating over the fitness of last week’s two-goal hero Ryan Brennan as his side prepare to host in-form Derry City at Head in the Game Park this Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).

rennan felt a tweak in his hamstring in the closing moments of the 3-1 victory against Shelbourne, but it’s not yet clear whether the manager will be able to call on him for the visit of the Candystripes.

Keith Cowan came off late in the game with a knee problem and his fitness is also being monitored, Luke Heeney is edging closer to a return and Adam Foley should be available after missing out last week through illness.

Derry were 2-0 winners in the clubs’ first meeting of the season, but since then there have been two 1-1 draws, with Brennan scoring Drogheda’s equaliser at Head in the Game Park before winning the penalty that was converted by Dean Williams at The Brandywell.

“We have got two positive results against them this year and did quite well in both games,” Doherty recalled, “but they’re an excellent side with an excellent manager who’ll be looking to push themselves into the top two and I’m sure they’re still harbour ambitions to stay up there and possibly challenge for the title.

“We’ll have our work cut out, as we do most days, but we’re going into it with a lot of confidence.

“Even when you look back at the Harps game before that, we should have been 2-0 up, and we should have been three up against UCD, so I wasn’t overly concerned.”

Looking back at the Shels game, Doherty was delighted with most aspects of the performance and particularly with the quality of the three Drogheda goals.

“Bar the first few minutes when it was hairy, it was good and I thought we were definitely the better team,” he said.

“Technically they were very good goals. The first one is really good play with Darragh (Markey), Dayle (Rooney) and Evan (Weir) and even Dean Williams leaving it for Ryan (Brennan) to finish.

“The second one was brilliant from a technical point of view – Dayle did really well with the timing of the shot – and Ryan’s second goal was a brilliant hit and a good ball in by Andrew Quinn.”

Doherty was asked why Brennan hadn’t started recent games prior to last Friday and he replied: “He had been making such an impact off the bench, but a lot of the time you need different players for different reasons, whether it be legs or something else.”

With UCD beating Finn Harps to leapfrog the Donegal men at the foot of the table, Drogheda now have a 14-point cushion over Andy Myler’s students, and it was suggested that 10 points from the remaining nine games – taking the Boynesiders to 40 – would ensure safety.

However, Doherty said: “It depends on other results. If you had offered me 30 points with one series of games to go I would have taken it, but going back to last year Waterford and Finn Harps won so many games at the end of the season. UCD have won three of their last five and Finn Harps are more than capable of doing the same.”

Meanwhile, Drogheda’s extra.ie FAI Cup second round tie at home to Shamrock Rovers next week has been put back until Sunday 28th, with a 5pm kick-off. The tie comes less than 72 hours after Rovers host Ferencvaros in the second leg of their Europa League Play-off, and five days before they visit Bohemians in a crunch Premier Division game.

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