UCD -v- Derry CityThu, Aug 23 2012
The Students have won two of their last three games in the league but their attention turns to the FAI Cup this Friday as they welcome Derry City to Belfield in one of the two all Premier Division ties in the last 16.
After two wins in a row over Shelbourne and Cork City, UCD were well beaten by Sligo Rovers on Monday night but remain one point ahead of bottom side Dundalk.
The Students have targeted a good cup run from the outset and easily overcame Leinster Senior League side Phoenix FC in the last round. But will face a stiff test on Friday if they are to progress to the quarter-finals and UCD boss Martin Russell knows the importance of the cup.
“The cup is the 2nd most prestigious completion in the calendar and there is a place in Europe winning it – it gives us a break from league and is a game we want to do well in.” he told ucdsoccer.com.
It will be the third time the two sides have clashed this campaign and both previous fixtures have been closely fought encounters. The Candystripes took the points at the Bowl back in July but earlier in the season the two sides contested a goalless stalemate at the Brandywell.
UCD have been hit by several injuries to key players this season and their lengthy absentee list continues to grow. The Students are still missing the injured goalkeeper John Kelly (thigh), while top scorer Graham Rusk (shin), midfielders Chris Mulhall (groin) and Tom O’Halloran (groin), along with striker Cillian Morrison (ankle) are all long term absentees.
Dean Clarke (hip flexor) and Sean Russell (groin) are both also expected to miss out after picking up knocks during the defeat in Sligo on Monday. “Our injury list is growing instead of reducing but that is all part of football and will give some other players a chance.” Russell said.
“We have played them twice already this season, a draw away and lost by one goal at home so it will be a tough test as always.” The UCD boss concluded.
The Candystripes will want to put a disappointing league campaign to date behind them as they look to add a fifth FAI Cup to their trophy cabinet. Derry lost out on penalties to Bohemians in the 2008 showpiece final and last lifted the famous old trophy six years ago
when they defeated St. Pat’s at the old Lansdowne Road.
The game will be the Foylesiders third game in a grueling seven days which has seen them beat Bohemians and earn a point at the Carlisle Grounds but manager Declan Devine knows Friday’s game won’t be easy.
"From our own point of view the confidence in the squad at the minute is very high, We have kept two clean sheets in the last two games and came away with four points out of six from two difficult ties. We know that we will need to bring that confidence to the game on Friday as UCD have been on a bit of a run of good form themselves of late. The last time we played them in UCD I felt we were very fortunate to come away with three points and we know that Fridays game will be equally as tough."
Derry have a good recent record over the Students, having won four of the last six games between the sides and have also come away victorious on five of their last six visits to the Belfield Bowl. The last time they faced college in a cup game was last July when Stephen
Kenny’s side comfortably progressed to the next round of the EA Sports Cup with a 3-0 win on campus.
Derry will be without the services of Rory Patterson (hamstring) while Mark Farren (calf) is a doubt and Conor Murphy is cup tied having played for Monaghan United in the last round.
Speaking to the club’s website ahead of the game, Devine realises the importance of a prolonged cup campaign. "It's been a while since Derry had a good run in the cup and defeats to the likes of Wexford Youths are still fresh in the mind of most of this squad. I feel that this could be the year where a good run is possible and the knowledge that if we win this game we will be just two games away from a final day in the Aviva Stadium is all the motivation the side need."
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Derry have scored 13 goals in their last six visits to the UCD Bowl.
Stephen McLaughlin scored the only goal of game as Derry beat the Students 1-0 in July.
UCD won the FAI Cup in 1984, when they beat Shamrock Rovers in a replay at Tolka Park.
UCD 21/10; Draw 9/4; Derry City 6/5.
UCD 1-2 Derry City
UCD Injury News: John Kelly (thigh), Graham Rusk (shin), Chris Mulhall (groin), Tom O’Halloran (groin), Cillian Morrison (ankle), Dean Clarke (hip), Sean Russell (groin)
UCD Suspension News: None.
Derry City Injury News: Rory Patterson (hamstring), Mark Farren (doubtful), Conor Murphy (cup-tied)
Derry City Suspension News: None.