Rovers out for re­venge against Dun­dalk

De­spite EA Sports Cup de­feat, Bradley is adamant his side can tri­umph

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS - EMMET MALONE Soc­cer Cor­re­spon­dent

Dun­dalk v Sham­rock Rovers Oriel Park, to­mor­row, 4.45pm Live on RTÉ 2

Roberto Lopes looks set to start for Sham­rock Rovers in Sunday’s FAI Cup semi-fi­nal (kick-off 4.45pm, live on RTÉ 2) against Dun­dalk de­spite limp­ing out of the league de­feat in Rich­mond Park on Mon­day. The de­fender in­jured his an­kle in the sec­ond half of the Inchicore game, but man­ager Stephen Bradley be­lieves he will be avail­able for his side’s lat­est en­counter with the club that beat them in the EA Sports fi­nal just a cou­ple of weeks ago.

De­spite the 3-0 de­feat that day, Bradley, who rates Trevor Clarke as a “real doubt” due to the an­kle in­jury that kept him out this week, is adamant that his side can build on their two ear­lier league wins and beat Stephen Kenny’s side this week­end.

Match them

“The last one was a close game un­til Aaron Bol­ger’s send­ing-off. I think any­one who saw it would agree and I think we’ve shown this year that when we go head to head with top teams, we can more than match them.”

Bol­ger is avail­able again for this game and Bradley says he would have no reser­va­tions about start­ing the teenager again de­spite the sense among neu­trals that the player’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence might have played a part in the in­ci­dents that led to his dis­missal. The man­ager says, how­ever, that no de­ci­sion has been taken yet on Sunday’s line-up.

Kenny must wait un­til close to kick-off to as­sess the fit­ness of John Mount­ney, Steven Kin­sella and Dane Massey, with the left-back hav­ing been risked on Mon­day in Turner’s Cross only to limp out of the game early on.

Shane Grimes came on for Massey then and could start this week­end, as he did in the League Cup fi­nal. Ni­clas Vem­melund seems cer­tain to re­turn after hav­ing served a sus­pen­sion.

“The three-nil was a great re­sult for us but it’s not go­ing to have much of a bear­ing on the re­sult on Sunday other than in the sense we know what we can do if we play well,” says goal­keeper Dun­dalk Gary Rogers.

At­tack­ing threat

Rovers, he says, have the po­ten­tial to pose a ma­jor at­tack­ing threat but he be­lieves Dun­dalk were well-pre­pared for them de­fen­sively last time and that their re­cent form sug­gests they can keep them at bay again.

“Gary Shaw has been lead­ing the line re­ally well for them and then you have the likes of Ro­nan Finn and Bran­don Miele.

“Gra­ham Burke has been in­jured but Trevor Clarke has been play­ing well and he’s got a good strike on him, too, so we’ll look at all of their strengths and weak­nesses and look at the best way to get a re­sult. We know what to ex­pect and we have to pre­pare prop­erly to deal with that.

Clean sheets

“I thought we did well when we played them a cou­ple of weeks ago but then I’ve been happy with the way we’ve been play­ing well as a back five for a while now. We’ve kept a good few clean sheets and that’s al­ways a good in­di­ca­tion of how you’re do­ing.”

A year on from his two call-ups to Martin O’Neill’s Ire­land squads, Rogers says he has no com­plaints about be­ing over­looked these days and no great ex­pec­ta­tion of a re­turn any time soon.

“It was great to get that op­por­tu­nity but you have to re­spect the fact that [Rob] El­liot, [Dar­ren] Ran­dolph and [Keiren] West­wood are play­ing at a very good level and so they are go­ing to be the three keep­ers.

“My pri­or­ity is to fin­ish the sea­son on a high, and go­ing to the Aviva for the cup fi­nal would be the best way to do that now.”

Stephen Bradley:is adamant his side can build on their two league wins

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