Dundalk v Derry City, Oriel Park, 6.30pm
A repeat of last season’s semi-final awaits, as City travel to Dundalk this evening to meet Stephen’s Kenny side in a winner takes all FAI Cup clash. With Cork City leading the Premier Division, the Cup is the chance for both of these sides to get their hands on some silverware. New rules mean no replays at this stage of the competition and thus the game will be played to a finish tonight.
The sides were involved in a rip roaring game last season, City finding themselves 2-0 down before hauling themselves back into the game to take the semi final to a replay. The second game was a great encounter, decided only by a disputed penalty before half time. City have had a poor record against a dominant Dundalk up until recent times, but this season have been more than a match of the reigning League champions. The Candystripes won the first encounter of the season in Maginn Park and then earned a point after a dogged draw in Oriel. The sides are battling for European qualification through the League and meet again in Maginn next weekend.
City enter the game on a run of four wins, but know the challenge in store as they seek to knock out last season’s finalists on their own ground. City will face a host of ex Candystripes, with Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy and Niclas Vemmulund amongst those who are expected to feature in the Dundalk line up. Chris Shiels is likely to miss out on the game due to injury, but another ex Derry player Thomas Stewart is expected to return. The Lilywhites sealed their passage to the final of the EA Sports Cup with a 3-0 win in Galway on Monday. City defeated Shamrock Rovers last week 2-0 in Tallaght as the seek to catch Stephen Kenny’s side in the league
View from the Boss
Speaking to the Drive 105 before the game, boss Shiels admit that is was probably not the tie that his side wanted.
“It’s a big, and we see how difficult it is going to be. We have got closer to Dundalk, I think they would admit that. We have lost players, they brought Nico and Michael when we were poised to sign them.
Obviously you don’t want to meet Dundalk, Cork, Shamrock Rovers at this stage of this competition. You can’t look at it as a negative though, you have to look at it as a high positive. We will prepare to win a game of football and play to the best of our ability”
There has been significant transfer speculation around the club this week, with Ronan Curtis tunring down a move to the Swedish top flight and thus will remain available for selection for the game against Dundalk.
“I have got mixed feelings, I want him to have a professional career at a higher level. Ronan is happy and he is an integral part of what we have achieved so far and will continue to be so until he leaves”
In terms of absentees, City will have to plan with Conor McDermott and Harry Monaghan. McDermott misses out through suspension, Monaghan has a hamstring issue. However City will welcome back Nicky Low to the squad after his suspension saw him miss the game against Rovers/
Tickets have been available from the club office all week and terrace tickets will be on sale from Oriel Park from 5pm today.
The game will be live on Drive 105 and Radio Foyle. We will also bring you up to date with regular updates on Twitter and Facebook.