The FAI Cup’s surviving non-league sides head to Longford and Bray this evening where their hosts will be hoping they prove to be handy tickets to the competition’s semi-finals.
"Look," says Wanderers boss Mick Cooke, "the bottom line is that we're a Premier Division club and they're not. If we're honest with ourselves, every manager is hoping for a non-league side at home, but it's their big day out so anything can happen, and you have to give them the same respect you give a Cork City when they come to play."
Killester United boss Gerry Davis does not see tonight's game as any sort of treat for his players. "Between one thing and another I've probably worked with most of the Bray players and I've come across them all at some point.
“Knowing their strengths and weaknesses helps when it comes to coming up with a game plan, and we’ve prepared well this week, so I’d look at this as a match we can get something out of.”
The hosts have Stephen McGuinness and Adam Hanlon out injured, while John Sullivan being cup-tied is a particular blow.
Davis has Eoin Mooney back from injury as he looks to spring a surprise.
Sheriff YC goalkeeper Lee Murphy is Alan Reilly's only doubt as he prepares to head for Longford. The Dubliners put Athlone out in the last round, and Reilly reckons his side will be in with a shot again if they perform.
“The lads have to relish it. We don’t play in these games every year and Longford are a good side. A lot will depend on how we apply ourselves.”
Tony Cousins has Dean Kelly and Jack Doherty cup-tied, while Pat Flynn and Don Cowan are out injured. "There's a lot at stake," says the Longford boss, "and they won't be daunted after all the finals they've been in in the last few years, so we know we have to deliver."
The night's other two games are Premier Division affairs with Sligo heading back to Dundalk and Cork City at the Brandywell. The league champions have Stephen O'Donnell suspended, while Sligo have Sander Puri and John Russell available again.
Derry are without the suspended Philip Lowry, although Cillian Morrison and Ryan McBride are back from bans. John Caulfield has John Dunleavy and John Kavanagh out injured, while Steven Beattie and Stephen Folan are cup-tied.