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The Lilywhites boss prepares to lead his side into the first Louth derby of the Premier Division season and insists that they are up to the challenge

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has insisted that his team is 'ready' for the challenge presented by Drogheda United as the teams prepare to meet in the first Louth derby of the 2013 Airtricity Premier Division campaign.

The Lilywhites will host Mick Cooke's Drogs at Oriel Park this evening, Thursday March 28, with the game set to kick off at 19.45 GMT.

After four games played, Dundalk find themselves in third place, with seven points. Last year's league-runners-up Drogheda, meanwhile, have won just one of their opening four games and find themselves in sixth position.

Speaking to the club's official website, Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny acknowledged the threat posed by the EA Sports Cup holders, but stressed his belief that his team is 'ready'.

"Drogheda United are a good side," said Kenny. "They have good players and have done very well. I am pleased with our preparation though. Our focus has been very, very good and we're ready for it.

"These derbies always have an edge but we can't get caught up on that. We have to concentrate on the football and go out there to win."

Drogheda United picked up their first win of the season against Bray Wanderers last week and boss Mick Cooke revealed his hope for a 'big turnout' at the game. Cooke also paid tribute to his Dundalk counterpart Stephen Kenny, noting that the former Derry City and Shamrock Rovers boss had put together a new team at Oriel Park.

He said: "The games against Dundalk are always big occasions and weather permitting I hope there will be a big turnout, especially as both of us won at the weekend.

"We hold the upper hand from last season, but form does go out the window in derby games. Stephen has put together a new squad and there are new faces in our team also."

Dundalk will be without Stephen O'Donnell who misses the tie with a calf injury, while Drogheda will be without Alan McNally, Gary O'Neill and Derek Prendergast.

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