Drogheda United -v- Wexford YouthsThu, Aug 23 2012
Mick Cooke will be glad of the break from League duties when his side welcome First Division stragglers Wexford Youths to Hunky Dorys Park.
The wheels are in danger of coming off the Boynesiders season as they slumped to their second defeat in two weeks, going down 3-2 to ten-man Cork City on Monday night. But a cup game will give the manager a chance to try out a few more fringe players.
Drogheda are safe in the knowledge that they will have at least one cup final this season, but in a season of over-achievement there will be a small few who might hope for a second. Cooke will be forced into several changes and talk of his side being tired after the Cork match along with the fact that there are four cup-tied players, being cause for change.
Alan McNally is out for two to three weeks with injury while Jason Marks, Alan Byrne, Cathal Brady and Michael Schlingermann are all cup-tied.
Speaking ahead of the match the Boynesiders manager said he wasn’t taking anything for granted. “I've had Wexford watched over the last few weeks and they are a decent side, they had a great win on Friday night and I'm sure they will treat this game like their cup-final.”
He also spoke about the fact they will have a week off from the League, “It's always nice to have a distraction from the league and luckily enough we are in a cup-final already but that won't stop us trying to make another final. There are a few lads who are cup-tied and this will open up spaces in the team so the lads have been working hard to get into the starting XI.”
Wexford Youths may be at the wrong end of the First Division but the South East side will head to Hunky Dorys Park full of confidence after an impressive 2-1 away win over promotion chasing Waterford United on Friday night.
Danny Furlong netted a brace in Friday’s win, and his goal last year was the only thing separating Drogheda and the Youths when they met in the Leinster Senior Cup. Youths may sit in sixth in the First Division table, but several good performances just haven’t reaped the rewards that they may have deserved, Friday night aside.
Manager Shane Keegan is acutely aware of the challenge faced by the Co Louth side and was full of praise for his opposite number, Mick Cooke.
“It’s unbelievable what Mick has done with them this year”, he said. “He’s done a fantastic job and put together a panel of players that absolutely work their socks off for him, working themselves into the ground, and they are not short of talent either. It will be a really tough game for us but I don’t think anybody will be fearing the task”.
Keegan must plan without goalkeeper Graham Doyle but the club do not report any injuries ahead of the game.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
This will be only the second ever meeting of these sides, Wexford Youths won the first last season in Ferrycarrig.
Drogheda come into this game having suffered their first back-to-back defeats this season, they haven’t lost three in a row all season.
Drogheda United 2/9, Draw 5/1, Wexford Youths 11/1.
A new look Drogheda side will not dominate this but they should progress 2-0.
Drogheda Injury News: Alan McNally.
Drogheda Cup-tied: Jason Marks, Alan Byrne, Cathal Brady, Michael Schlingermann.
Drogheda Suspension News: None.
Wexford Youths Injury News: None.
Wexford Youths Suspension News: Graham Doyle.
P.J. generally covers Drogheda games at HD Park and can generally be found at any Dublin ground when of a loose end on a Friday night.