The Boynesiders claimed their first silverware since 2007 on Saturday when they comprehensively beat Shamrock Rovers 3-1 in the EA Sports Cup Final. There is a real fell-good factor surrounding the club since the win, but Mick Cooke will have his players grounded and focused on the task at hand.
There is also an element of revenge for Drogheda as Pats put them out of the cup after a two-game battle, the second went all the way with the Saints progressing after penalties.
Speaking ahead of the game, Drogheda manager Mick Cooke is well aware that this is a must-win for both sides, “Liam Buckley and I are both out to win this while I'm sure Sligo will be hoping for us to draw. All the games between us this season have been close, having beaten them in Inchicore in the League we will want to get another one over them at home. They are obviously coming into this game having won their game in hand on Tuesday night and confidence will not be an issue for them.”
However, the cup win for Drogheda has been a boost for the Drogs in more ways than one, “one thing Saturday has done for us, is get the monkey off the players back about beating Rovers, we lost to them three times this season and to finally beat them will do wonders for our confidence,” added Cooke.
The former Mons manager will be without Declan O’Brien who is suspended for the clash, however he will be no longer constrained and Michael Schlingermann Michael Marks and John Sullivan are all back and available for selection.
SAINT PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
Liam Buckley’s side are in the driving seat when it comes to challenging Sligo Rovers, the Saints recorded a 2-1 win on Tuesday night over Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers. Ironically that win will almost have guaranteed Drogheda United European football next season.
Tuesday’s win not only put Pats into second, but it was also their fourth league win on the bounce. Liam Buckley isn’t expecting an easy task on Friday night, speaking before Friday’s clash the Pats manager said, “Mick Cooke has done a tremendous job and they’ve given us four tough games to date this season, and we are expecting no different on Friday night.
“There’s a lot at stake on Friday as a win for either side will leave them in a strong position for second place and move closer to Sligo.”
The Saints remain without the services of Mark Rossiter (knee), while Dean Kelly, Hernany Macedo, and John Russell are all doubts.
However they are boosted by the return of Chris Forrester who is available following a one match suspension.
Pats pre-season expectations have all been exceeded some might say, they are in the FAI Cup semi-final and are still in with a slim shot of catching Sligo Rovers. Their performance on Tuesday night left a lot to be desired, they took a two goal lead but failed to see out the game and Rovers should have pulled them back late on.
Referee: Padraig Sutton
The sides have met four times this season, only one game saw a winner in 90 minutes, that being Drogheda who won in Inchicore 2-0.
No game between the two this season has had more than two goals
Pats were the first team this season to stop Drogheda scoring away from home
Drogheda United 5/2, Draw 9/4, St Pats 21/20.
It’s hard to separate these sides, I called the last two, correctly, as a draw and I am going to plump for an away win this time. 1-2 to St Pats.
Drogheda United Injury News: None.
Drogheda United Suspension News: Declan O’Brien.
St Pats Injury News: Rossiter (knee), Dean Kelly (doubt), Hernany Macedo (doubt), John Russell (doubt).
St Pats Suspension News: None.