Bradley says Rovers need to be wary of Drogheda after last year’s cup defeat
Holders Dundalk are at Derry for what looks to be a tricky tie for the visitors
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley: “if you are not at your levels for any game you’ll get beat”. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
A year after his side went out of the cup to a Chris Lyons penalty, Stephen Bradley says he and his players need to be wary of Drogheda United as the two sides meet in the competition again on Friday evening, albeit with the Dubliners this time enjoying home advantage.
“I think they are definitely a better side than last year,” says the Rovers boss whose own side have seen their hopes of a first league title in eight years slip somewhat after a very strong start to the season.
“They are in with a chance of getting promoted so confidence will be high. They score a lot of goals – I think they scored six [against Wexford] on Friday – so it will be a tough game and we have to be at it, at a high level, to go and win the game.”
Bradley recalls feeling that his players were not quite where they needed to be in training during the lead-up to last year’s encounter, and suggests he was not quite as surprised as others by the defeat that followed. It is, he says, a warning that needs to be heeded this time around.
“It just shows if you are not at your levels for any game you’ll get beat. We weren’t at our levels, we didn’t play to our strengths, and we deservedly got beaten on the night.
“We have to make sure we are focused like we were in Derry and Waterford. If we do that the result will look after itself, but if we don’t, and we are not focused or ready, we showed last year that we will get beat.”
Bradley has injury problems with Joey O’Brien and Neil Farrugia, while Tim Clancy is without midfielder Mark Hughes who has been working his way back from a lay-off but not quite quickly enough, it seems, to feature in this one.
Prior to being beaten by Rovers last Friday, Declan Devine’s side had been undefeated at home since April, and have drawn their last two games with the league leaders even if it is quite a long time since they actually beat them. They will be without David Parkhouse, who is suspended on this occasion.