Friday night’s match in Tolka Park kicks off at 7.45pm. Tickets for Away supporters are SOLD OUT. Coverage of this match is available on LOITV. If purchasing an LOITV subscription for the season, please note that you are a Shamrock Rovers fan.

A point from our opening league game last week (against Dundalk), as it was last season, and also in 2021. What are your views on that game?

“I felt after the game, a draw was probably a fair result considering Dundalk hit the post as well. When I watched it back, we had a number of really good chances with which we should possibly win the game. I think with more sharpness and match fitness we’ll take those opportunities. But it’s a point on the board. Some of the play was really good, some we need to improve upon, but first game it’s a point and we move on”

Seeing the players coming off the pitch at full time, they seemed really disappointed, nearly as if we’d been beaten. Given the disruption during the game and against a well set-up Dundalk, were the players a bit hard on themselves afterwards or what was their feeling afterwards?

“We set our standards to aim to win every game. We understand that’s not possible all the time but that’s our aim. We work really hard to get to a level where we want to win every single game. We didn’t manage to do that against Dundalk so there’s obvious disappointment in the dressing room and you could feel that and sense it. But what this group have always been brilliant at is moving on quickly. They have the initial frustration and disappointment after a game when we don’t win, we review it fairly quickly and we move on fairly quickly. This group has been really good in moving on after results.”

We looked particularly dominant in the second half with really good headed chances from Darragh Burns, Josh Honohan and Seán Hoare, although at 1-0 down Dundalk hit the post, another reminder that football results and outcomes can change on such small margins.

“Yes, it is small margins. But we have to be careful at times that we don’t mistake good outcomes with good processes and good performances, whether you win, lose or draw. That’s what we always try and take out of it, to really analyse the performance and was what we were looking to do, was that there? Against Dundalk, at 1-0 down they hit the post, so that’s why you’d probably say a draw was a fair result. We did play really well for long periods in the second half.”

It’s Shels away tomorrow. They also drew their first game. You know Damien Duff and Joey O’Brien well, Shels will be well set up against us and there’s been very little in the recent games between us, so a tough Tolka assignment awaits us.

“It will be a tough game, a Dublin Derby. Shelbourne are always really well set up and really well organised. You expect that when you see Damien and the staff he has there. When you add in the real quality that they have at the top end of the pitch, they showed last season they’re a dangerous team for anyone in the league. It’s their first home game so their fans will be up for it, so we have to be ready for that and respect that and when the time comes we impose ourselves on the game. But we know we’re going into a difficult game.”

Pico is still getting his post-AFCON break, do we know how long Neil and Trevor will be out and who else is unavailable this weekend?

“Trevor isn’t too bad, probably looking at another three weeks. We feared the worst when it happened, as he had an Achilles problem in pre-season but that had settled. It’s the bottom of his calf, so he won’t be too long. Neil’s absence will depend on his rehab. He’ll get surgery during the week. We could rehab it and get him back sooner, but the chances of it happening again are in the 90% region so I think that would be a silly decision. He’ll get surgery and we’ll take the short-term hit for now. We’ll see how Neil’s body reacts to the rehab. Hopefully, it’s quick and what will help is Neil’s mentality, he understands what it takes when you’re injured. He’s had a few injuries over the years, so he knows what it takes in terms of getting back quickly and listening to his body and mentally to be in a good place, so that’s important.”

“Richie Towell and Graham Burke are back, as is Johnny Kenny. Jack Byrne is there but we’re just holding off on it, until Monday or Tuesday. Again, because it’s early in the season, we don’t want to take that risk, but he’s just there.”