Drogheda United will look to pull off a cup upset in the first round of the FAI Cup as they take a break from league action to take on Shamrock Rovers (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Boynesiders come into this game unbeaten in four, having beat Shelbourne and Athlone recently, before drawing to Wexford and Galway United.
Drogheda got off to a poor start against Galway, 2-0 down at half time, but second-half goals from Mark Doyle and Sean Brennan rescued a point for the Louth side.
“I think the first-half performance is probably as poor as we’ve been since I’ve been here,” manager Tim Clancy told the club’s official website.
“We weren’t ourselves and, credit to Galway, they took full advantage
“When we got the lads in at half-time, we made a few adjustments but above all else we told them to get closer to the Galway players. It was too easy for them in the first-half.”
“I was delighted for both Mark Doyle and Sean Brennan to get on the score sheet and I think it might prove to be a massive point in six weeks time,” Clancy said.
Clancy will have to plan without the suspended Brennan, who scored his sixth free kick of the season last week, for his ninth goal of the season.
The Drogheda manager is looking forward to challenging Rovers, who are in form, having won five of their last six league games.
“I’m sure the Rovers players will be reminded by their fans this week how long it’s been since they won the Cup,” Clancy said.
“They seem to have hit their stride recently in the league and it’s a great challenge for us to test ourselves against one of the best sides in the country.
“I don’t think many people are predicting us to advance but we’ll leave everything we have out on the pitch.”
Shamrock Rovers head to Drogheda on Friday evening, looking to progress to the next round of the FAI Cup, a competition the Hoops last won in 1987.
Rovers will look be hoping to continue their recent positive form, which has seen them win five of their last six and lose just one of their last eleven league games.
Stephen Bradley’s side beat Sligo Rovers in their last fixture, two weeks ago, thanks to second-half goals from Dylan Wats and Gary Shaw.
“It was a good win,” Bradley told the club’s official website.
“I thought we played OK in the first half and used it a bit in the second. We deserved to win in the end so I was happy.
“Sligo are dangerous, I said it a few times that they have players that can hurt you. They created a really good chance and hit the crossbar.
“It was straight forward enough at half-time. We said we needed to be more aggressive in our play and the players knew that. In the second half they were very good.”
Rovers will be without the suspended Greg Bolger while Ethan Boyle, Dave McAllister and Luke Byrne all again miss out through injury.
Sean Kavanagh and Joey O’Brien are back in training, however, and may feature against Drogheda.
Bradley has watched Drogheda a number of times this year, including last Friday against Galway and says he knows how the Boynesiders will play.
“I’ve watched Drogheda quite a few times this year so we know how they’ll play. It’ll be a difficult game but one that we’re looking forward to,” Bradley said.
“There’s nothing we can do about those years [without winning the FAI Cup], all we can affect is tomorrow night.
“We can’t talk about winning any cups if we’re not ready. We’ll only be thinking about winning in Drogheda, that’s our only focus.
“If you start thinking about cup finals you very quickly find yourself out of the competition.
“We’ll go up there and do everything we can to win the game. After that, what will be, will be.”
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
These sides met three times last year, in the Premier Division.
Drogheda won the first game at United Park 2-1, but Rovers won the other two games 4-1 in Tallaght and 2-0 in United Park.
Both of these sides were knocked out of the 2017 FAI Cup by Dundalk last season. Drogheda bowed out in the quarter finals, losing 4-0 at in Oriel Park, while Rovers lost 4-2 in the semi-final replay in Tallaght after drawing 1-1 in Oriel Park.
Drogheda United 9/1; Draw 4/1; Shamrock Rovers 1/5.
Drogheda United 0-2 Shamrock Rovers
Suspended: Sean Brennan.
Injured: Ethan Boyle, Dave McAllister, Luke Byrne.
Suspended: Greg Bolger.a