Last season’s beaten semi-finalists UCD begin their quest for a second FAI Cup crown when they host Letterkenny Rovers of Donegal at the UCD Bowl on Sunday afternoon (kick-off is at 2pm).
The Students fell to defeats against Derry City last time out with manager Collie O’Neill ruing their inefficiency in front of goal and in defence throughout the game.
However, the PFAI First Division manager of the year award winner for 2018 was pleased with how his new signings have impacted his squad.
“We go again. The basic readings are there for a good side, but it just takes time to gel it together.
“The new guys need to know how we like to play and be a bit more possession based. They’ve grown into it however, they’ve accepted it.
“I thought Sam’s hold up play was really good, Liam (Kerrigan) has been very energetic, he’s given us something extra going forward, so things are looking bright for the long-term.”
However, turning focus to the visit of Letterkenny to Belfield, O’Neill admits he is expecting his side to progress.
“And rightly so we are expected to win this game. We should be expecting to win it, and I will be expecting every player to turn up and show a good desire to win a football game.
“I’ll be going full strength; I won’t be resting anybody.”
UCD have not released any team news, but first-choice goalkeeper Conor Kearns remains suspended.
Hooping to secure the shock result of the round, Letterkenny Rovers travel to the capital to face Premier Division UCD.
Letterkenny have played as recently as 2016, where they fell to a replay defeat versus Athlone Town at Leckview Park.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Rovers manager Eamonn McConigley told Highland Radio.
“They’re well into their season and they are going to be very strong and fit. I suppose we’ve started our season and we’re only three weeks in so there might be a difference in that sense but maybe our enthusiasm will stand to us.
“We’ll be trying to keep it very tight at the start and hopefully all the way through. We’ll look to hit them on the break so that will probably be our best way of catching them.
“Saying that, it’s going to be a brilliant day for us, everyone is looking forward to it. It’s cup football, anything can happen.
“If they’re not firing on all cylinders, I think we have a realistic chance of causing an upset but this UCD team are very good.”
The visitors have not released team news ahead of their trip to the capital to face the 1983/84 cup winners.
Referee: Paula Brady.
UCD have won their previous two games against Letterkenny Rovers fellow Co. Donegal side Finn Harps at the UCD Bowl this season.
Letterkenny Rovers qualified for the first-round proper of the FAI Cup having reached the last 16 of the Intermediate Cup last season – receiving a bye to the first-round proper of the blue-ribband tournament.
Last week, the Co. Donegal side won a friendly against fellow non-league side Glengad United with a three-nil win. Former Finn Harps forward BJ Banda was on the scoresheet for the Northwest outfit.
UCD 1/5; Draw 11/2; Letterkenny Rovers 7/1.
UCD 3 - 0 Letterkenny Rovers.
Suspended: Conor Kearns.