Dundalk caretaker manager Darius Kierans says that there is a 'belief within the squad' that they can win this week’s playoff against Waterford United and preserve the club’s Premier Division status.
Kierans was handed the task of turning Dundalk’s season around following the departure of Seán McCaffrey in July and he pointed to the 'very tough year' that the Lilywhites have endured both on and off the pitch.
But on the back of a morale-boosting first league win in five months against Bray Wanderers last Friday night, the 33-year-old says he is 'confident' that they can overcome Waterford over two legs, this Tuesday at Oriel Park and Friday at the RSC.
"We’re confident and we have belief within the squad that we can win the playoff,” Kierans said. “We know it’s not going to be easy. Waterford are a very good side. I’ve watched them play a couple of times and we had someone watch them on Friday."
He continued: "They will be a different type of test to what we’re used to in the Premier Division. They play 4-4-2. They have Gary Dempsey in midfield and Seán Maguire up front who are two very good players. They’re physical and strong but there is nothing hard or fast about it.
"We’re going to go out to try to win both games. We’re positive. We’ve been working hard all week and touch wood a big crowd turns out because the fans were outstanding in the FAI Cup.
"It’s not the ideal scenario to be in, particularly for a club of our stature. A club like Dundalk should be at the top end of the table. It has been a disastrous season, from the get-go.
Kierans can welcome back midfield pair John Mountney (appendix) and Stephen Maher (suspension) but defender Derek Foran (groin), top scorer Gary Shanahan (ankle) and the versatile Paul Walsh (groin) are all doubtful while young striker Bob McKenna (shin splints) misses out.