Tonight's Louth derby in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division has issues concerning the battle for Europe and the promotion relegation play-off, with Drogheda United and Dundalk in both races ahead of the clash at Head in the Game Park.
The congested table means these sides are still battling to avoid a ninth place finish in the table. Results in the last week have helped them and there would have been huge relief to see Derry City nab an injury-time equaliser against Waterford.
Tim Clancy’s side hung on for a point in Finn Park last Monday to ensure they sit five points clear of the Donegal outfit with three matches remaining.
For Dundalk, they’re just three ahead of Harps, with a 1-0 victory over the Blues last week a critical result for them.
It’s fair to say a point could do both a lot of good this evening as their relegation rivals have difficult fixtures coming up, but there is another incentive to get three points.
With Bohemians having a real dip, and Derry also struggling to pick up victories, fourth spot remains in sight for both Louth clubs.
Drogs could move ahead of Bohs and into the top four with a win and that position would be good enough for European football next season if St Patrick’s Athletic win the FAI Cup.
Vinny Perth’s side could also come into that race, particularly with a home game against Longford to come and a clash with Derry on the final day.
It’s not just Louth pride riding on this one.
Drogheda are in the midst of four games in nine days – a scenario forced on them due to international call-ups and their desire to have their first-team players available.
Jake Hyland is suspended tonight for the home side. Chris Lyons is doubtful because of injury and Mark Hughes and Hugh Douglas are ruled out.
Dundalk will be cheered on by 600 away supporters tonight. Greg Sloggett will be given a late fitness test due to a knock picked up against Waterford while Sam Stanton, who missed that fixture with a strain, is also doubtful.
Brian Gartland, Patrick McEleney and Wilfried Zahibo are still sidelined with injury Raivis Jurkovskis is also unavailable due to a family bereavement.
Perth admits he has an eye on Europe as well as avoiding the play-off.
"Three wins in our last three games would leave us on 51 points and I think it would take a good run from everyone else to knock us out of fourth place if we did that.
"That is the goal," he added. "If we win in Drogheda it will move us up a spot in the table and then we can look at finishing in fourth. I believe this team deserves to finish on a high.
"I’ve been talking about it for weeks. Every team is capable of going on an unbeaten three or four-game run and every team is capable of losing three or four games in a row.
"The derby is all about the fans.
"For us, it’s a very difficult game, and we have to understand what Drogheda will do but we have tried to put some pride back in the jersey and I know our fans would love three points against the local rivals."