Derry City v Mervue UnitedThu, Sep 13 2012
Derry City will be looking to put their patchy league form behind them when they face first division outfit Mervue United for a place in the semi final of the FAI cup at the Brandywell on Friday evening, in what Declan Devine has described as "our biggest game of the season."
Derry will go into the tie as firm favourites to progress as they look to rescue a disappointing season. The Candystripes have been on a poor run of form, losing their last three league outings and have been hampered for the majority of the season with a plethora of injuries and suspensions.
Stewart Greacen will miss the tie through suspension whilst midfielders Ruadhri Higgins and Stephen McLaughlin are likely to miss the game with knocks picked up in the last league game at Drogheda and striker Rory Patterson remains sidelined with a hamstring complaint. Better news comes in the form of the influential Owen Morrison returning to training this week and captain Kevin Deery is available after missing the majority of the season with a serious knee injury.
"Theres a place in the semi final of the cup up for grabs but it won't be easy and I hope people aren't thinking it's going to be easy" commented Devine. "We were very determined to get a result at UCD last month and we need to be again.Any team is capable of beating another in a one off cup tie so this won't be easy. Our home form is in the past now but it's up to us to do something about it. It's a very important cup match and it's important we get back to winning ways".
Derry will be looking for Barry Molloy to stamp his authority on the midfield to give his attacking players Patrick McEleney and Owen Morrison a platform to provide Conor Murphy and Mark Farren with the chances they will need to progress.
Mervue United make the trip north on Friday evening hoping to upset the odds as the only club from outside the top flight remaining in the competition. Mervues league form hasn't been good this season as they are just one place above the foot of the first division but they have excelled in the cup, beating a strong Waterford Utd team 4-0 away from home in the last round. It is also the first time the club have qualified for the quarter final stage of the competition.
Manager Johnny Glynn, a former first team coach at Derry City will have to plan without midfielder Gary Kelly who serves a one game ban for reaching four yellow cards and left back Marc Ludden who is currently out of the country with work but captain Mike Elwood is available despite being sent off in last week’s league defeat to Limerick as his ban will be served in the next league game. Martin Conneely could return to the side having appeared as a second half substitute last week after being side-lined for over a month with a foot injury, while both Jason Molloy and Noel Varley will return having been rested last week.
Glynn remarked "We are looking forward to the challenge against a formidable Derry outfit, who I watched against Drogheda early this week. They are playing against better teams each week in the Premier Division which is a big difference but it gives our lads a chance to play at that higher level. None of our lads have played in a cup quarter final before and it will be a big occasion for them but we will give a good shot and you never know in the cup”.
Referee: Tom Connolly.
Derry City and Mervue United have met in four competitive fixtures with Derry City winning all four.
In all games Derry City have outscored Mervue by 14 goals to 3.
Mervue United manager Johnny Glynn was first team coach for Derry City under Pat Fenlon.
Derry City 1/8 Draw 6/1 Mervue United 14/1.
Derry City 3 v Mervue United 0.
Derry City Injury News: Rory Patterson (hamstring), Ruadhri Higgins (foot), Stephen McLaughlin (tendonitis)
Derry City Suspension News: Stewart Greacen.
Mervue United Injury News:Marc Ludden (unavailable).
Mervue United Suspension News:Gary Kelly.
Jamie Mahon joined the Extratime team at the beginning of 2011. Hailing from the North West, Jamie reports on all things Derry City. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JamieMahon23.