Tickets are still available for Friday’s televised clash in Tallaght Stadium. Buy here. The match kicks off at 7.45 pm with coverage on RTE2

Having watched the 3-1 defeat to Waterford back, are you of the same opinion that we looked a bit flat in the first half?

“I think so. But what you have to understand is these players have been incredible during this period of time. We’ve had a lot of games and a stretched squad, but they’ve been really good and have stepped up. But Monday looked like a game too far for us. We can’t fault their effort or desire to get something out of the game. We were just off our levels and to be fair to Waterford, they were very good.”

Would that flatness be a cumulative effect from a heavy schedule and would that flatness be physical or mental or a combination of both?

“I think it’s a bit of both. As I said the players have been brilliant, have stepped up, they’ve given everything in every game. But on Monday I don’t think there’s any getting away from we looked a little bit flat. That can happen from time to time, they’re only human. And as I said, we’ve been stretched, but you have to give Waterford credit. They came and took full advantage of it.”

Despite that Waterford defeat, one has to try to find a positive. Getting Jack (Byrne) and Neil (Farrugia) in for the majority of the second half and how their introduction certainly upped our tempo and levels, that must have pleased you?

“Yes I’m really happy with both, they were excellent when they came on. They gave us real energy, and took the team forward, which you’d expect as they haven’t played a lot. The other positive is we could easily have won or drawn the game with the chances we created. We created a lot of really good chances. So even though we’re disappointed and we don’t like to drop points or lose games, I think there are still positives to take from the Waterford game.”

So it’s another derby this weekend against Pats. There should be a good attendance for this attractive fixture. Is it an opportunity for the lads to get the Waterford defeat out of their system quickly,  or do you do it during the week at training?

“Again, it’s a bit of both. What this group have been brilliant at throughout the years is reflecting quickly and moving on. That doesn’t change whether we win, lose or draw. We understand what happened on Monday, we know where we went wrong, and why we went wrong, so when you have real clarity like that, it’s very easy to move on. It’s just about refocussing now, it’s another Dublin derby, there should be a good crowd and it’s one we’re looking forward to.”

St. Pat’s won the FAI Cup six months ago but parted company with Jon Daly this week. Despite Jon’s departure, where do you see that we have to be most wary of about Pats?

“I think Pat’s showed over in Inchicore when we played there, while we controlled the majority of the game, they punished us in the second half. We know they’ve got attacking players like Waterford that can really hurt you if you switch off. So we need to be switched on and respect what they have in the attacking part of the pitch because what they have is really good.”

How is our injury situation this week? Can you give an update on the injured players?

“Graham Burke is ok, we’ll check on him today but he should be available, Darragh Burns should be available, we got good news on Dylan Watts, he’s likely only looking at a few days so should be back next week. Seán Hoare will be a bit longer, Rory Gaffney should be next week and the same with Aaron McEneff. We’re getting there with the bodies, they’re all on schedule. Lee Grace got good news with his scan, so that might be quicker than we thought. Gary O’Neill will be the longer one, he’s doing really well, the scan came back good but we just need to be careful with the type of injury it was.”