DFC | Kenny: Rogers is back to his very best

Dundalk FC keeper has kept eight clean sheets in his last nine

Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers comes to collect a cross in the win over Bray Wanderers. PICTURE: AL ROBINSON

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny believes that veteran goalkeeper Gary Rogers is back to his very best after an impressive run of clean sheets.

Rogers made his eighth shutout in the last nine games in the 3–0 win over Bray Wanderers on Friday night and Kenny praised the 35-year-old for his recent performances.

“I think Gary’s handling from crosses is really outstanding,” said Kenny. “The crosses are coming in, in swirling winds and in advanced areas and he’s just coming and taking everything.
“He doesn’t look like dropping anything at the minute and he’s not having a lot of saves to make.
“He made a very good one in the first half so when he has to make one, he’s making one, but his concentration is very good.
“His handling and coming for crosses is without a doubt the best in the league by some distance, by a country mile.
“He’s having a good run of form and that breeds confidence. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 18 or 35, if you have a good run of things, it helps you feel better about yourself.”

Another player to attract glowing approval from his manager was Robbie Benson, who hit a fine brace at The Carlisle Grounds.

“The first and second goals were brilliant passing moves and the timing of Robbie’s runs were really exquisite.
“He came out of the blocks in pre-season and it looked like he was going to have an outstanding season but he obviously ripped his hamstring in Cork.
“It took him a few weeks to get up to the standard that he set earlier in the season but he’s getting back to that now.
“He scored a scrappy goal last week against Finn Harps which was his first since the opening night of the season and that got the monkey off his back and relaxed him.
“We’ve had ups and downs in Bray over the past few years so we’d take a win like that. It was comprehensive and we passed the ball very well,” Kenny added.

The Lilywhites play their final domestic game before the Champions League tie with Rosenborg when they travel to in-form Bohemians on Wednesday night.

A win over The Gypsies would reduce Cork City’s lead at the top to nine points but Kenny was realistic enough to admit that Dundalk’s chances of making a charge to the push are as good as over.

“We’re in a situation now where we play Bohemians with a chance of going nine points behind but if we had beaten Cork, we would have been going into it looking to go three behind them,” he sighed.
“That was the plan, to win five games in a row after the break. We’ve won four so now we have to go and win the fifth which is probably the toughest of them all, away to Bohemians.
“They are in great form and they’ve shot right up the table. They’ve also had a good rest as they were due to play Cork on Friday night so we’ll get a good test.”

Stephen O’Donnell is ruled out of the clash after straining his hamstring in Bray while there is also a doubt over Patrick McEleney who has a tight groin.

For Bohs, Ciaran O’Connor — who joined The Gypsies on Tuesday afternoon — and Georgie Poynton are ineligible due to the terms of their loan agreement but Keith Dalton, who made the permanent switch from Dundalk to Dalymount Park last week, could make his debut.

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