St Patrick’s Athletic v Shamrock Rovers (Richmond Park, 7.45pm)
STEPHEN KENNY WANTS Shamrock Rovers to get into the winning habit when they head to Inchicore for tonight’s EA Sports Cup quarter-final against St Patrick’s Athletic.
The Hoops boss has come under fire following a mixed bag of results in the league, a slump sparked by a 5-1 defeat against the Saints in April, and the visitors are anxious to follow up an edgy 3-2 win against Shelbourne by booking their place in the final four.
“This is a big two weeks for us,” Kenny said. “We have five Dublin derbies in the space of just two weeks. We started that period well against Shelbourne on [Thursday] night by getting the win. And we want to keep that going.
“Winning becomes a habit and that is important for us at that stage.”
With Shelbourne set for Richmond Park on Friday night, Pat’s are in the middle of their own mini-run of Dublin derbies. A win tonight would take the Saints one step closer to a trophy they last won back in 2003 and midfielder James Chambers stressed just how much the competition means to the Inchicore dressing room.
“You play in the league for 10 or 15 years maybe, and there’s not that many people who can say that they’ve played in or even been to a cup final.
“So it’s another chance to go one step closer, but we know that Rovers are league champions and the game won’t be easy.”
Team news For Pat’s, Mark Rossiter (cruciate) is the only absentee. Rovers are still without defender Sean Gannon (ankle) and striker Ciaran Kilduff (foot), who is yet to feature this season. Killian Brennan and Stephen Rice return from suspension.
Form (all competitions) St Pat’s DLWWW Shamrock Rovers WDWDW
Odds St Pat’s 13/8 Draw 11/5 Shamrock Rovers 29/20
Referee D Hancock
Sligo Rovers v Derry City (The Showgrounds, 7.45pm)
Sligo Rovers will be out for revenge when they take on Derry City for a place in this year’s EA Sports Cup semi-finals tonight. The Bit O’Red were the defending champions when they headed north to the Brandywell for last year’s semi-finals but their reign was ended on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw.
There was nothing to choose between the teams when they met in April in the league, Danny North and David McDaid getting a goal apiece in a 1-1 draw. With Monaghan withdrawing from the Premier Division last week, Sligo were left idle while the rest of their pursuers got back down to business following the mid-season break, and manager Ian Baraclough wants to get back to winning ways without delay.
But after suffering penalty disappointment of their own against Crusaders in the Setanta Sports Cup final, Derry’s resolve to hang on to the only piece of silverware they won last season has increased.
“There is no such thing as entering a competition without wanting to win in my eyes,” Baraclough said. “The players are keen to get back on the pitch and I’m expecting a tough, tight game against a side that finished well before the break.”
Team news Alan Keane is suspended but Jason McGuinness, who is due to serve a one-match ban in Friday’s league game against Dundalk, is available for Sligo tonight. Joseph Ndo is back in training following injury.
Derry are still without the injured Kevin Deery (knee), Mark Farren (hamstring), Barry Molloy (knee) and Brian McGroary while Ryan McBride (thigh) is a doubt. Shane McEleney returns from suspension, and Stewart Greacen is available tonight before serving a suspension against Drogheda on Friday.
Form Sligo WWLLD Derry WWWLD
Odds Sligo 4/5 Draw 23/10 Derry 7/2
Referee R Rogers